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Power naps for power women: Worth it?

Elaina is a Phoenix-based freelance writer, blogger and co-founder of the Kidlee baby book app. Check out her blog, Fun Finds For Mom, for product reviews, recipes and fun activities for moms and kids.

Bring on the siesta

You know you’re not getting enough sleep. Caffeine may power you through the morning, but by mid-afternoon, you can hardly keep your eyes open, much less focus on getting some serious work done. What are you going to do: crawl under your desk and take a nap? Actually, you might want to think twice before ruling out a midday power nap. Workplace napping is on the rise and for good reason. Find out why power naps just might be a smart choice for power women like you.

Woman yawning at work

Workplace napping on the rise

EnergyPod

It appears American companies are recognizing the benefits of naps for employees. A 2011 study conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management showed that six percent of workplaces had nap rooms. This was an increase from five percent in 2010. Another poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation in 2011 found 34% of respondents saying they were allowed to nap at work, with 16% saying their employers go so far as to provide designated napping areas.

Companies who have long been upping their employees' productivity by offering them perks, like in-house gyms and free gourmet lunches, have taken it one step further. Employees at Google, Cisco, and Huffington Post Media can now grab a siesta in company-provided nap pods. These futuristic EnergyPods, made by MetroNaps, are intended to quickly and effectively enhance your energy by providing the optimal reclining position, soothing music, comfortable privacy, and a gentle wake-up.

Get more ideas on how to avoid the midday slump >>

Benefits of napping

So why are these companies investing thousands of dollars to help their employees nap? The benefits of napping have been shown to have a direct impact on employees' performance. Dr Sara Mednick, a researcher at the Salk Institute at the University of California, San Diego, and the author of Take a Nap! Change Your Life., says that fitting a nap into your everyday schedule increases alertness, boosts creativity, and reduces stress.

Power women will also be happy to know that Dr Mednick lists other non-work-related benefits of napping that include preserving youthful looks, revitalizing libido, contributing to weight loss, and reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Get more ideas for natural energy boosters >>

Power nap strategies

Now that you've decided to give napping a try, you'll need to select your location. We understand that most employers don't provide egg-shaped pods for nap time. However, don't let that stand in your way. If you have a couch and a door that closes and locks, go ahead and ask your employer for permission to charge up with a short nap in the office. If your office is a cubicle, you'll need to look elsewhere for a comfortable, quiet spot where you can recline. Head home if you live nearby, or if there's no time, consider turning your car into your own personal nap pod.

Next, you'll need a few napping tools. Soothing music or a CD of nature sounds playing on your iPod can help you drift off to dreamland. A light blanket adds comfort. Remember an eye mask to block out the light. Most importantly, you'll need an alarm of some kind to make sure you keep your power nap to 15-20 minutes.

Finally, choose the time of day you will be napping and block it on your calendar. If napping worked for powerful men like Leonardo da Vinci, Isaac Newton, Napoleon Bonaparte and Albert Einstein, there's no reason why it can't help recharge power women like you.

Read more about why a power nap might be just what you need >>

Fun fact

Swiss scientists recently found that rocking isn't just for babies. Swaying hammocks helped adults fall asleep faster and enjoy a deeper sleep during their nap, compared to those snoozing in a regular bed.

How to nap at work

Seinfeld's George Costanza built a bed under his desk, but we'll tell you how to be a bit more subtle.

More tips for a busy life

3 Foolproof ways to get more sleep
7 Time suckers to stop immediately
Quiz yourself: Are you wasting time?

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