Napping is a wonderful thing to do during the day, whether you’re sleep deprived or just running low on energy or ideas. A mere 15 to 20 minutes can boost your alertness and motor skills and even help get your creative juices flowing again. Which makes napping at work sound even more tempting, doesn’t it?
It turns out a midday snooze could even make you a better worker!
According to a 2008 study that was conducted at the University of California, a power nap is actually more effective than caffeine at improving verbal memory, motor skills and perceptual learning. Participants who napped had better recall memory after 20 minutes than those who drank coffee. This improved performance was even noticeable hours later.
If you’re lucky enough to work from home, you can probably get your 20-minute power naps easily. However, those who work in an office are not so lucky (unless you work at one of those nouveau offices that offer state-of-the-art sleeping pods to their employees). If your boss can swing by your desk at any time to check on you, it’s difficult to time even the quickest of naps.
But if the science says it will make you more productive, it’s worth a shot, right?
There are a few little tricks you can try to get away with catching a few winks from time to time. It’s all about being crafty — and, of course, learning how to snap back into action if your covert operation fails to fool onlookers.
1. The “I’m away from my desk”
If you have a big desk that mainly faces away from people, you can try pulling a George Costanza and sleep underneath it. You sort of have to build a little fort around yourself for any snoopers who take it upon themselves to look around all sides of your desk. If you have presentation boards nearby, try pulling those around the open side of the desk, making it look like you just laid them there before going to get a cup of coffee.
2. Sleep with your eyes open
Sound impossible? Well, it’s not! … Thanks to Sleep Safe Tape! This tape has eyes painted on it, so when you want to snooze for a bit, simply peel, stick to your eyelids and voilà. Granted, if someone looks really closely, they’ll notice it’s not really your eyes, but to a casual glancer, it should go unnoticed.
3. Do it on your lunch break
If you really missed out on your zzz the night before, you might consider catching a few on your lunch break. If you take a car to work, try lying down in the backseat, so you can really stretch out. If not, you can always lie down on a common space couch — your boss can’t fault you for what you chose to do with your lunch break time!
4. Deep in thought
This works best if you have lots of work papers you can pretend to be looking down at on your desk. Simply prop yourself up on your hands, resting your elbows on the desk and position your head so it looks like you’re looking down. To the outside eye, it will just look like you’re totally immersed in your printouts.
5. Tummy troubles
Bathroom naps are great because it’s usually pretty quiet and serene in there. However, you have to be OK with people thinking you have tummy troubles — because you might end up being in there for close to half an hour. If that doesn’t bother you though, you’re golden! That being said, you should probably restrict these visits to once or twice a week, otherwise your co-workers might start thinking you have a real medical problem.
6. Working sounds
This can really be applied to any of your desk sleeping techniques. It’s an app called iNap that makes all the sounds you’d make if you were actually working and not sleeping, like mouse clicking, typing, throat clearing, etc. It’s essentially the sleep tape from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off — only it does the opposite.
Disclaimer: While we don’t really suggest you nap on the job (as it may lead to dire consequences), it can’t hurt to ask your boss to invest in a nap room. After all, it could drastically improve employee performance (not to mention morale), and you wouldn’t have to stoop to covert sleeping operations anymore.