Is It Ever OK to Nap at Work?

Some days, it can feel like sleep is overpowering your effort to stay focused at work. Read on to learn the etiquette for taking a power nap during your lunch break.

This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation

An increasing number of businesses offer nap rooms or sleeping pods, quiet places where employees can go to catch up on rest during their free time. There’s a reason for this trend: Research shows that napping can increase worker productivity, improving performance on things like perceptual tasks, while daytime drowsiness can make it worse.

Plus, a midday nap may enhance your brain’s learning capacity almost as much as a full night of sleep. Equally important: People who nap have better moods and lower frustration levels compared to those who don’t nap.

Despite the measurable perks and growing popularity, however, napping at work can still feel strange, like you’re doing something you shouldn’t. And in truth, some companies are supportive of the idea, while others may frown upon it. For that reason, taking a power nap during your lunch break may depend on your access to a private, quiet space where you can sleep undisturbed, without worrying about what the boss will say.

If you think you can pull off napping during lunch, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Aim for Privacy
If you have an office, this may be the best place for your nap. Close your door and turn your lights off so you can rest undisturbed. Your car is another good option. Or, if your company has single-person call rooms, you might use one of those (facing away from any door or window, of course). You will feel more comfortable and fall asleep faster if you feel secure in your environment.

Go Dark
To make falling asleep easier, remove light from your area as much as possible. If you’re in the car, park in a dimly lit, secure lot and if you are in the office, select bulbs that cast a warm, soft glow or turn the lights off completely. Minimize noise distractions as well by using your phone or computer to play white noise or a soothing playlist.

Set an Alarm
Sometimes, a short nap can feel so good that you end up sleeping straight through your lunch hour—and afternoon meetings. Twenty minutes is the sweet spot; any longer and you risk feeling sluggish for the rest of the afternoon. Set your phone or computer to signal when the time is up, and allow yourself a few minutes to organize your thoughts before you rejoin the office buzz.