Discover How to Nap at Work and the Countries Allowing it!

man napping at work

How to Advocate for Napping at Your Workplace 

We’ve embarked on this nap fascinating journey so far, isn’t it something we all secretly wished for? Well, let’s now explore how you can actually advocate for napping in your workplace. As trivial as it sounds, there’s quite a bit of a strategy involved. 

The Power of Persuasion: Presenting Nap Benefits 

The first step towards making a case for napping at work is truly understanding the benefits it brings and effectively communicating them. Here are a few talking points to help you out: 

  1. Boosts Productivity: A quick nap can rejuvenate employees, making them more productive and alert.
  2. Improves Mood: Napping can lower stress levels and improve overall mood, leading to a happier and comfortable workplace.
  3. Encourages Creativity: Rested brains are more likely to think outside the box and come up with innovative ideas and solutions.
  4. Enhances Wellness: Napping can also contribute to an overall healthy lifestyle, leading to fewer sick days and better performance.

Strategising The Nap Approach 

It’s important to know your audience. Tailor your proposal according to the mind mould of your management. Let’s illustrate: 

  • The Evidence-Driven Boss: For the boss who needs hard facts, gather up research studies showcasing the benefits of napping at work.
  • The Employee-Focused Boss: Emphasise on the positive impact workplace napping can have on employee wellness and satisfaction.
  • The Proudly Innovative Boss: Highlight how forward-thinking and progressive it is to allow napping at work, just like leading tech companies.

Finding The Nap Champion 

It always helps to have support when advocating for change. Look for a ‘Nap Champion’, someone at a higher level who understands and supports your cause. They can help push your proposal forwards through their influence. 

Remember, change can be challenging. But if you present a strong case and remain passionately persistent, your campaign to introduce naps at work stands a really good chance of taking root – and who knows, perhaps one day you’ll have a chance to nap right at your workplace after lunch!

Best Practices for Napping at Work  

Resting your eyes in the middle of a bustling workday may seem like a dream, but it’s entirely achievable if you follow a few steps. To help you reset, refresh and get more from your workday, here are some best practices for napping at work. 

Timing Is Crucial 

Perhaps the most important thing to consider about nap-time at work is timing. It can’t be too long, or else you’d fall into deep sleep and potentially groggy when you wake up. Ideally, your nap should last for about 15 to 30 minutes – just enough to regain focus and energy. Nap too long, and you risk entering a state of sleep inertia, causing you to feel more tired upon waking. 

Setting the Scene for a Short Snooze 

Second, you need a conducive environment. Find a quiet and minimally lit space where you can relax. Use earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones to cut out office noise. Using a light blanket, a nap pillow, or even an eye mask can also make your short resting period more effective. 

Timing Your Nap for Optimum Productivity 

Don’t just nap when you feel like it; schedule it! Post-lunch, when most people experience their energy levels dip, is a great time to take a quick snooze. This downtime allows your body to digest food and kickstarts the second half of your day with renewed vigour. 

Sleeping Upwards 

Finally, for those who don’t have the luxury of a flat surface for napping, don’t fret. Napping on an airline-style reclining office chair or even upright can still provide a good rest, especially if neck support is used like a travel pillow. Just make sure to keep yourself in an upright position to avoid slumping over and potentially causing any discomfort. It may take a little bit of practice to get used to this way of napping but, with time, your body can adjust and you will find it refreshing and rejuvenating. 

Bring your own Nap Bed

Human dog bed size

Adding to the arsenal of your nap strategies, consider bringing your own nap bed, often affectionately referred to as a “human dog bed“. Apart from the humorous nickname and the peculiar look, these nap beds can be a game-changer in your routine of workplace napping.

Designed with ultimate comfort in mind, these beds provide optimal support for your body contours while you indulge in a quick power nap. They not only ensure you remain comfortable but also promote a sound nap, free from any awkward or painful waking positions common on chairs or desks. 

Post-nap Practices: Wake Up Right 

You’ve taken a nap, now it’s time to wake up! Just like falling asleep, waking up correctly is essential; no one wants to startle awake from their peaceful slumber. Set an alarm to ensure that your power nap doesn’t become a full sleep session. After waking, stretch out a bit, drink some water, and give yourself a few minutes to shake off the disorientation before getting back to work. 

Combining these practices with an open mind and a bit of preparation, optimal napping experiences can become a reality at your workspace. Not only will it make you feel better, but it can also boost your productivity considerably.

Building the Perfect Napping Environment in Your Office 

Establishing the right surroundings for a power nap isn’t as challenging as you might think. What you’re aiming for, essentially, is creating a temporary oasis that allows for optimal restoration, without compromising the professional setting. Let’s delve into how exactly you can do this. 

Turning Off Interruptions 

Consider this your initial step. The modern workplace bristles with potential disruptions – from the incessant dings of email notifications to the persistent hum of office chatter. Streamlining these distractions plays a key role in creating a conducive environment for napping. Silencing your phone, putting a ‘Do Not Disturb’ placard on your cubicle, or wearing a sleep mask are all effective ways to limit disturbances. 

Picking the Sweet Spot 

Identifying the perfect spot for your nap is another component to master. Ideally, you’d want a place that’s quiet, banked away from the bustling office buzz, yet not completely isolated. You could consider communal areas designed for relaxation, such as lounges or breakout rooms, if deemed appropriate. Remember, the goal is to create a space that signals you’re taking a restorative pause, not neglecting your duties. 

Arm Yourself with Comfort 

Comfort is non-negotiable when it comes to successful napping. Investing in a compact, ergonomic nap pillow could come in handy. Also, think about a light blanket to maintain optimal temperature considering the often-changing office climate, making sure you aren’t too cold or too hot. Other nice to haves could be noise-cancelling headphones, a light-blocking mask, and possibly a quiet fan for some white noise. 

Setting a Nap Timer 

Respecting both your nap and work commitments is a fine balancing act. Setting a nap timer could be an effective way to ensure you get the rest you need without overstepping the recommended nap time. Remember, the intention of the nap is to boost your energy levels and productivity, not to leave you feeling groggy and disoriented for hours on end. 

By crafting the perfect napping environment, we can win half the battle to higher productivity and health at work. So, settle in, quiet down, and make the most of your naptime to revitalise your working day!

Countries That Embrace Workplace Napping 

  1. China – Napping at work in China has long been a common cultural practice. Many Chinese companies allow or even encourage employee napping, typically during the post-lunch dip in energy. Special napping pods or beds may be provided.
  2. Spain – The concept of the siesta, a short nap taken in the early afternoon, is well ingrained in Spanish culture. Many Spanish workplaces permit employees to take a short siesta break, usually 30 minutes or less.
  3. Mexico – Similar to their Spanish counterparts, Mexicans appreciate a good midday nap — so much that small ‘nap salons’ have begun emerging. At these relaxing hideaways, weary workers can catch some well-deserved shut-eye in the middle of their workday.
  4. Japan – Power napping is a widely accepted practice in many Japanese workplaces. Brief 30-minute employee naps are not uncommon and may take place in special nap rooms equipped with chairs or cots.
  5. Italy – The riposo or afternoon rest period is a familiar Italian custom. Naps are permissible in many Italian work settings, with some offices having designated napping chairs or bedding for employees.
  6. Greece – Greek offices often have a more relaxed midday nap period similar to the Spanish siesta. Employees can rest on office cots or lounge chairs and enjoy a brief 25-30 minute catnap.
  7. Austria and Finland – These European nations likewise have historically permissive attitudes toward employee naps during designated break times. Special relaxation rooms may be available.
  8. France – known for its unparalleled work-life balance, takes napping at work to a luxurious level. Many businesses, especially in larger cities like Paris, have specially designed ‘napping rooms’ equipped with comfortable beds, mood lighting, and soothing sounds. 
  9. Germany – Many German companies provide designated ‘power nap chairs’ or dedicated quiet rooms where employees can rest. They believe that a short daytime sleep can help refresh minds, improving concentration and productivity. 
  10. Brazil – In a quest to combat work-related stress, many companies encourage short naps during work hours. Different sectors, such as technology and advertising, are leading the way in this regard. Break rooms are often equipped with couches or hammocks where employees can rest their eyes for a few minutes. 

Napping in Japan at Work

The Country Where Inemuri (Sleeping while Present) is a Sign of Hard Work 

What might come as a surprise to many is the sleeping culture in Japan, fondly known as Inemuri or “sleeping while present”. In stark contrast to the typical western view that sleeping on the job is a sign of laziness or neglecting duties, the Japanese often view this practice as a sign of diligence and hard work. That’s right, catching a few winks at your desk could actually display your dedication to the job! 

The Origin of Inemuri 

Inemuri can be traced back to Japan’s feudal era, where servants were so dedicated to their masters, they would stay alert in case they were needed, often leading to them dozing off while upright. Today, it’s not uncommon to see employees, students, and even politicians, all partaking in Inemuri. It serves as both a way to recharge and a subtle brag about your work load and commitment. 

The Rules Behind Inemuri 

However, like many things in Japan, there are social rules that determine the appropriateness of Inemuri. It’s deemed acceptable in certain situations and follows a set of unspoken rules. Firstly, Inemuri is more likely to be acceptable if the person is able to maintain an upright posture while dozing. Laying down, snoring, or any other signs of deep sleep, might be seen as unprofessional. 

Secondly, not everyone has the right to Inemuri. For instance, in a school setting, a student dozing might not be viewed as seriously as a teacher doing the same. It generally depends on the person’s rank within a company or an organisation. The higher your position, the more acceptable it is to engage in Inemuri. After all, it’s a display of commitment and fatigue from overwork, two signs of dedication in the Japanese work culture. 

The Perception of Inemuri 

To the western audience, it might seem strange that sleeping on the job is seen as a positive thing. However, it’s worth taking into account that Japan is notorious for its work culture, often involving long hours and high expectations. The stress from this can be overwhelming, leading to a lack of proper sleep. Thus, a short nap during the workday might be just what’s needed to sustain focus and productivity. Having said that, it’s clear that napping at work is seen as more of a necessity than a luxury in Japan, becoming a part of the work culture itself.

How Western Countries are Slowly Embracing Workplace Napping  

While many Western cultures have traditionally seen workday napping as a sign of inefficiency or laziness, the tide is slowly changing. More and more businesses across Western countries are recognising the numerous health benefits that a quick power nap can provide, leading to increased acceptance of this practice. 

United States: The Concept of Nap Rooms and Nap Pods 

Nap pods, the futuristic sleep chairs, are starting to pop up in offices across the United States. Google, for instance, has been known to provide this amenity to its employees. These pods provide a semi-private, comfortable space for employees to fit in a quick sleep, encouraging rejuvenation amidst a hectic work day. 

United Kingdom: Napping Wellness Policies 

Some companies in the UK are stepping up to revise their wellness policies to include short breaks for napping. Johnson and Johnson offer their workers the opportunity to take part in the ‘Power Up’ programme, designed specifically to educate about the benefits of a quick 40 winks and provide the time and space to do it.

Canada: Snooze Zones and Nap Classes 

In Canada, companies like Vancouver-based social media management platform, Hootsuite, have created dedicated ‘snooze zones’. They also run ‘Nap Classes’ for their employees, advocating the benefits of napping for enhancing productivity levels. 

Australia: Sleep Pods for Power Naps 

Australia is also reinventing its work culture around napping. Organisations like Queensland’s Deakin University have installed sleep pods for employees to use, acknowledging that a short nap can result in significant improvements in cognitive function.

In conclusion, the revolution of workplace napping is not bound to any culture or country. It’s a worldwide trend now, fuelled by the growing awareness of the importance of sleep for maintaining the overall mental and physical health of the workforce, thereby boosting productivity. So next time you feel an energy slump coming on midway through your workday, consider a quick nap. It might be just what you need.

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Jane Downey, lead Sleep Technologist brings over 30 years of experience in sleep medicine, ensuring that you receive the highest level of care and expertise throughout your sleep study journey.


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