For the first issue of Wellness Wednesday, CPR offered some tips for providing nutritious snacks or catering for staff. We all know a family that eats together builds a stronger foundation. A small organization is no different. A small team that eats together will no doubt construct a solid foundation. Today's healthy wellness tip is strategic napping or power naps. No, not sleeping full REM state but cultivating a climate where power naps can assist our employees in becoming more effective and productive. Let's explore.
Strategic napping can boost your reaction time, attention, alertness, and creativity. While the American culture does not promote napping, businesses globally do. In addition, most tech firms have caught on to the benefits of napping in the past decade. According to the Sleep Foundation, napping is categorized in five areas pending its function. The functions include:
Recovery Nap: Sleep deprivation can leave you feeling tired the following day. If you are up late or have interrupted sleep one night, you might take a recovery nap the next day to compensate for sleep loss.
Prophylactic Nap: This type of nap is taken in preparation for sleep loss. For example, night shift workers may schedule naps before and during their shifts to prevent sleepiness and stay alert while working.
Appetitive Nap: Appetitive naps are taken for the enjoyment of napping. Napping can relax and improve your mood and energy level upon waking.
Fulfillment Nap: Children have a greater need for sleep than adults. Fulfillment naps are often scheduled into the days of infants and toddlers and can occur spontaneously in children of all ages.
Essential Nap: When you are sick, you have a greater need for sleep. This is because your immune system mounts a response to fight infection or promote healing, which requires extra energy. Naps taken during illness are considered essential.
For Wellness Wednesday, a leader may want to consider the appetitive nap. This nap will relax you and your employees, improve your mood and allow you to work longer hours past the 5 pm shift or once you have returned home and fulfill your other obligations as a spouse or parent. Even as a single person, Appetitive Nap may allow you to perform longer hours on the back end if you have a due project. So what duration of a time is categorized as a nap? Research shows that napping can be categorized as 5mins to as much as 1hr; however, research points to napping between 10 to 20 minutes to promote the benefits of napping. While power naps have benefits, they may be counterproductive to individuals who have insomnia.
How do you promote napping in a physical office or even if you are virtual? For small businesses, CPR recommends the following:
Designate power nap time: Make it company policy. Schedule a time so everyone is on the same page. This will vary based on the start time. Starting at 12noon, one may not need a power nap until about 5 pm. In reverse, if you start as early as 7 am, you may elect to designate a power nap around 12-1 pm.
Duration: power naps are between 10-20mins in duration, so don't freak out about lack of productivity. Power naps restorative sleep without drowsiness after waking up.
Team Meeting: set a team meeting 30mins after your power nap ended to ensure everyone is back on the clock
No Meeting rule: do not schedule any meetings during the designated power nap time.
Advise staff to set the alarm: They are responsible and accountable for returning to the day-to-day operations. Studies show that the best nap length for most people is about 10-20 minutes. This provides restorative sleep without drowsiness after waking. If you want to feel alert and productive after your nap, you can counter sleep inertia by limiting the amount of time you spend asleep.
Create a sleep-friendly environment: Your space should be conducive to napping to fall asleep. Depending on where you are, you may or may not have the best mattress available, but it helps to nap in a comfortable space that is dark, cool, and quiet.
Set aside your worries: Ruminating on sources of stress will keep you awake. If you’re having trouble letting go of concerns and to-do lists, try practicing relaxation exercises. These can help you fall asleep and wake from your nap feeling refreshed and recharged.
Meditate & Pray: this will assist with getting you in that REM state.
As a leader, how do you market power naps? CPR recommends the following:
meet with staff,
write the napping process as part of your wellness policy
promote the concept of Wellness within your organization. Get staff to buy into Non-Toxic Tuesday and Wellness Wednesday,
ensure they understand the difference between napping and sleeping on the job
underscore the benefits of napping
if a virtual office, even if employees are unable to nap, encourage staff to take the time to lie down, turn off devices and rest for a few minutes. They are also responsible for turning back on their devices after the nap.
Power naps, aka siestas, have been adopted as national policies. While most might be due to the heat, the reality is that taking a few minutes away from the day-to-day operations can be beneficial for your small business. So go ahead, give it a try and get your power nap on as you lead in promoting a healthy work environment.