While naps do not necessarily make up for inadequate or poor-quality nighttime sleep, a short nap of 20 to 30 minutes can help improve mood, alertness and performance, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
Depending on your job, it may even be critical. A study at NASA on sleepy military pilots and astronauts found that a 40-minute nap improved performance by 34 percent and alertness by 100 percent.
And another study, in the October 2012 issue of Academic Medicine, found that among first-year internal medicine residents, a short midday nap improved alertness and cognitive functioning.
Yet, by and large, U.S. employers frown upon workers who try to nap on the job.
Not C1 Bank’s chief executive, Trevor Burgess. As a napping proponent, he encourages it.
At least once a week, he and about a dozen drowsy employees, or nearly 15 percent of his staff of 85, take turns resting in an “EnergyPod” that he bought in October for his bank’s new St. Petersburg, Fla., headquarters.
“Even if you don’t fall asleep — in the 20 minutes, the meditation that takes place is pretty powerful, and you’re ready to face whatever your day holds,” Burgess said.
He sees offering a napping option as an important part of the overall work-life-balance, especially for members of the millennial generation who want to work when and where they want.
“It’s definitely the most talked about element in the space,” Burgess said of the pod, which was created by MetroNaps of New York.
Naps are not right for everyone. Nap for too long, and you might be groggy instead of refreshed. Daytime sleeping could lead to insomnia. And if you already have trouble sleeping at night, a nap may only exacerbate the problem, said Abreu, the UM sleep doctor.
In fact, the need for a nap may be a sign of a disorder, like disruptive sleep apnea or narcolepsy, he said.
“Take naps because it’s cultural, as long as it doesn’t interrupt nighttime sleep, or because you have poor sleep and need to perform at driving or work, so you’re protecting yourself and others from your sleepiness,” he advises