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Using short naps to boost productivity

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Google was one of the first to include nap pods in the workplace,  a decision which at that time dumbfounded the world.

Little did they know that Google was on to something, they knew that short naps boost productivity and increase employee wellness.

Companies such as Uber and Cisco soon followed in Google’s footsteps by relaxing the rules when it comes to sneaking in a quick afternoon snooze. Power naps typically last between 20-30 minutes and have been shown to boost cognitive performance.

One of the reasons why napping has been proven to be so effective is that most of us have already incurred substantial sleep debts. It is typically recommended that humans require somewhere between seven to nine hours of rest each night, but how many of us are REALLY committed to that? Napping is the human equivalent of jumpstarting your car’s battery.

Another key benefit of of napping is its ability to reduce cortisol levels, which in turn keeps your blood sugar levels nice and steady. Having stabilised cortisol levels also has a positive carryover to one’s health as well; food is better metabolised for energy instead of being stored.

If anything, the typical post-lunch drowsiness is as good a reason as any to indulge in a power nap. Taking short breaks are a much more pleasant alternative to swimming upstream against (and very often losing to) the feeling of sleepiness. One local enterprising cinema chain has even started to offer nap packages, using its vacant theatres and recliners as a makeshift nap pod.

The power nap culture is slowly starting to gain traction, but it might be a while before we see widespread adoption within the workplaces here. Still, there’s nothing to stop one from dropping a gentle suggestion in HR’s inbox, is there? There should no longer be any doubt that short naps boost productivity.


Lovato, N. (2010), “The effects of napping on cognitive functioning”, Progressive Brain Research, 185, 155-166

Devine, J. K. & Wolf, J. M. (2016), “Determinants of cortisol awakening responses to naps and nighttime sleep”, Psychoneuroendocrinology, 63, 128-134

A version of this article first appeared on The Daily Escape.