If there is one thing I miss about the flexibility of my college schedule, it is the chances I had to nap. Granted, they were few and far between — but if I wanted to blow off studying till after dinner and fall asleep for a glorious hour or so, I could.
Well, welcome to adulthood. We all want to take naps (do not even lie to me and say you don’t), whether we’re 23, living alone and get nine hours of sleep or 42 with two kids and get four hours of sleep. Naps are a universal want — even more so after daylight savings, when our sleep tickers are all over the place trying to re-situate themselves.
Of course, laying your head down in your cubicle around 2 p.m. can look somewhat suspicious if your office doesn’t have a nap-friendly policy — which is most offices, unless you work at Google or AOL. According to one article on the CNN Money blog, nap rooms are catching on in these offices:
Google’s Mountain View campus has received quite a bit of attention for its “Energy Pods” — futuristic-looking white capsules that rent for $795 a month or sell for $12,985 where nappers can recline out of other people’s sight and set timers to wake themselves up with vibrations and lights.
And Arianna Huffington has publicly plugged the “NapQuest” rooms — also outfitted with Energy Pods — that she had built at the headquarters of the combined AOL and Huffington Post in New York.
But napping is often especially relevant for 20-somethings, who are switching from an often-frantic college schedule and entirely wacko sleeping regimen to a steady workday and a much earlier bedtime. So in our adjustment period to these schedule changes, we nap. And although sometimes I get judged for it (my little brother once said I could be his favorite sister if I didn’t sleep so much), I remain an avid weekend napper.
So here’s why I think naps are great — and why some experts do, too:
- If you’re tired, you’re not as productive: This seems obvious, but who hasn’t struggled through a workday on just a few hours of sleep and let a handful of mistakes slip by? Or spent an entire afternoon on a project that should have taken 90 minutes? Your head’s not in the game, it’s focused on when you can sleep next.
- If you commute to work, you face the danger of falling asleep at the wheel: Often on Fridays, I’ll leave straight from work for a four-hour drive home to Connecticut or over to Pittsburgh. And I can’t imagine doing it on any less than a full night’s sleep. Even for commuters who are “only” driving a half-hour home, you’re probably now driving in the dark — when its even more important to stay alert.
- After a while, caffeine stinks: Everyone has had at least one work day where they drank too much coffee in an effort to stay awake and either (a) got sick from it or (b) got frustrated because it wasn’t doing anything.
- In other cultures, naps are rad: Spain just hosted its first National Siesta Championship last year. Now that’s a competition I would love to enter.
What about you — in favor or naps, or against? How many hours of sleep would you say you get on an average night?