As a full-time professional employed in a Monday to Friday job, I am part of the “Millennials Do Not Get Enough Sleep”-club. Work-induced stress, social commitments, and technology have made it difficult for millennials to maintain healthy sleep cycles, leading to reduced productivity, lack of attention span and worse, overall health decline.
However, a recent study has claimed that taking naps could counter the ill-effects of poor sleeping habits.
The research published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that taking small duration naps could possibly reverse the negative outcomes from lack of sleep the night before. A first of its kind, the study discovered that taking sufficient naps could bring neuroendocrine and immune health biomarkers to normal levels.
Personally, I have always looked forward to taking naps, whether to recharge myself during an exam preparation in college or while struggling with the writer’s block. On occasions when I have been unable to handle multiple stress triggers, switching off my mind for 15 minutes and napping, has acted as a rebooting process for my body. I have woken up feeling refreshed, buzzing with thought clarity and devoid of any caffeine urges.
Over time, I have found this to be one of the most replenishing habits one can incorporate as part of healthy lifestyle choices.
While the daily sleep requirements for adults range between 7-9 hours, in reality, we all struggle to meet even the crucial six hours target. It is therefore essential that we accept the importance of naps. At the same time, it is also important that professional spaces acknowledge their productive value by creating avenues for employees to snooze at work.
Companies like Google, Huffington Post, NASA, Proctor and Gamble and Samsung, among others, have introduced sleeping chairs known as EnergyPods. These pods cater to the sleeping needs of employees by helping them get 10 – 20 minutes’ naps at work. The EnergyPods are equipped with music and voice guides that can relax one’s mind inducing a state of calmness, while the lights and vibration features assist in waking one up.
A rising number of universities and colleges have also started developing nap stations, or offer sleeping capsules for their students to take quick afternoon siestas or sleep breaks to re-energize themselves during examinations.
Despite these new initiatives, a lot remains to be done.
The primary shift being a change in attitudes of our elders and senior supervisors who often frown upon the idea of napping at work. Anecdotal evidence suggests that employees have often chosen to nap inside washrooms or their cars, to avoid being caught sleeping at work. The reason being the stress-inducing change in millennials’ lifestyles that our previous generations perhaps did not undergo. Hence methods of tackling stress need to evolve as well.
A 2017 US survey revealed that a shocking 91% of the total respondents complained of stress being the biggest inhibitor to healthy sleep patterns. This research further presses the need for a rising young workforce to incorporate short naps as a regular habit.
If young adults feel comfortable in their workspaces to take naps, it can promote positive attitudes and make work cultures more accepting and productive.
It’s time we all rested our heads down a little in offices, without feeling guilty.
And while you all mull over this piece, I’ll now head towards my afternoon nap.