The Surprising Benefit Napping Has on Your Productivity

People who work from home invariably get comments from their friends and family about their work ethic and productivity. Particularly for those who are just starting a business, it may be hard to convince others that while you’re home during the day, you’re actually engaged in work.

Most people would be even more surprised if you were to mention that as part of your work day you routinely engaged in a mid-day nap. Many executives, however, are starting to see the benefits of an afternoon powernap. For the entrepreneur working at home, it is easier than ever to add this productivity booster to your list of secrets for a successful home-based business.

1. You’ll be more attentive.

work writingA study done by the Federal Aviation Administration, in conjunction with NASA, found that pilots who routinely took naps were more alert, had improved moods, and experienced better psychomotor skills. Napping regularly for anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes every day makes a marked difference in an employee’s ability to function.

2. You’ll be less likely to burn out.

Today’s activity-driven culture has created an environment where individuals are constantly on the go. Between work, family responsibilities, and other activities, it is easy to burn out from sheer fatigue. Giving your body a short nap can relieve stress and give you the chance to “start over” in the middle of the day. With increased intellectual utility and improved emotional flexibility, you are less likely to crack under the pressure of your work.

3. Your sensory perception will improve.

Interestingly, with the addition of an afternoon nap, the world is a more beautiful place. According to scientists, your physical sensitivity can soar to new heights after a nap. So the world looks better, smells better, sounds better. Food even tastes better. In addition, nappers tend to be more creative and develop some of their most ingenious ideas when they’ve napped first.

4. You have a reduced risk of heart disease.

The Harvard School of Public Health uncovered a shocking truth: people who nap at least three times a week are almost 40 percent less likely to die of heart disease. According to the doctors conducting the study, taking a nap during the day could be one of the most important things you do for your heart health.

5. You’ll be more productive.

mason-694271_1280Perhaps most interesting about the benefits of napping, and contrary to what many people think, a nap actually helps individuals become more focused and more productive. A short nap helps to rejuvenate the mind, making it easier to stay on task and manage time wisely.

Not convinced of the power of the nap? There is a long list of famous nappers who could attest to the success of a daily nap in their lives. John D. Rockefeller was known to take a nap every day in his office. Before performances, Gene Autry would nap in his dressing room. Thomas Edison snuck off regularly to nap. President John F. Kennedy had lunch in bed, then took a short nap. And Salvador Dali would nap with his key in hand (he referred to it as “slumber with a key”) and would wake when his key hit the floor.

How can you add this productivity boost into your day?

1. Add napping to your schedule.

Like most tasks, unless napping is part of your schedule, it is difficult to carve out this important time. Add it to your daily calendar to make sure you don’t schedule appointments or meetings.

2. Be consistent.

grass-829909_1280Napping at the same time every day will help you to maintain reliability in scheduling. Additionally, regularity will help your body adjust its circadian rhythms and make the most of the benefits of the nap.

3. Keep naps brief.

Maximum benefits occur with shorter naps (anywhere between 20 and 40 minutes), which help you avoid feeling tired afterwards. Set an alarm or use the Dali “sleeping with a key” method to ensure you don’t sleep too long.

4. Dim the lights.

Sleeping during the day can be tricky, but as a work-at-home entrepreneur, you have an advantage. Shut the blinds in your bedroom and dim the lights to cue your body that it is time to rest. If you find it hard to block out light completely, use an eye mask.

5. Set the temperature.

Cooler temperatures help your body slow down its processes, making it easier to rest. Use a light blanket, turn on a fan and settle in for your nap.

Work-at-home entrepreneurs have a distinct advantage when it comes to adding this productivity boost to their day. Turn off the computer, set aside the planning, and give yourself permission to get back in bed. The results may surprise you, and your business productivity may take off in ways that you never expected!