Reflection: As a youngster, I spent more than a few summer days at my Grandfather’s farm. Each day after his noon lunch, Grandpa grabbed a scratchy red wool plaid blanket, and headed out behind the house.
There, in the caragana windbreak, he stretched out for a nap on a set of rusty old bedsprings he had strategically placed in the shade. Jack, as he was called by his friends, was definitely a man ahead of his time.
Research from Harvard (which I’m sure Grandpa never read) has proven what he knew from experience – that a mid day nap increases productivity and gifts you with the mental freshness of morning all over again.
As a student in elementary school, when we returned to our desks following the noon hour break, our teachers would read us a chapter or two from an ongoing novel.
We were encouraged to rest our heads on our desks to listen, and nobody cared whether you tuned in to the story or caught forty winks. I often thought that the teachers would have enjoyed putting their heads down on the desk and having someone read to them!
We’re learning more all the time about the impact of naps.
- Some researchers have referred to the mid day nap a Zamboni for the brain –smoothing out the rough spots and irritations from the first half of our day.
- They’re also finding that naps improve our ability to learn and remember, and that they lift our mood and strengthen the immune system.
- One journal reported that a ten minute nap has positive effects lasting nearly three hours.
Those are pretty decent outcomes for investing 10-15 minutes with the eyes closed and the mind parked in neutral.
Action: So how do you put this idea into practice?
I’ve been fortunate enough to have my office at home for many years, so on office days, taking an afternoon nap was never a problem.
It’s tougher in a busy social office place – but not impossible.
I know one individual who stashes a pillow at work. After lunch, he closes his door and stretches out on the floor for a 15 minute nap. His colleagues know that if they barge in, post-lunch, they’ll find a body on the floor. And so they kindly work around his practice – and appreciate his renewed energy through the afternoon.
Others catch 10 minutes of nap time in their vehicle in the parking lot over the lunch break. And, some are lucky enough to work in organizations that provide quiet rooms that support this time-out practice.
Even if it’s not possible on your workdays, give a mid day nap a try on your days off or weekends, and see how much it contributes to your well-being.
Quotes Of The Week: No day is so bad it can’t be fixed with a nap. – Carrie Snow
A nap on a warm day, in the shade, with a breeze, is one of the great pleasures of being. – Terri Guillemets
People who say they sleep like a baby usually don’t have one. – Leo J. Burke
I hate it when my foot falls asleep during the day, because that means it’s going to be up all night. – Steven Wright
The amount of sleep required by the average person is five minutes more. – Wilson Mizner
Resource Of The Week: Check out this Globe and Mail article, The Importance of Taking A Break, by Daniel Pink. Pink shares more info on the idea of moderating our work pace in his book, When – The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing.
Learning Opportunity: If you are in Alberta, and looking for some professional education for you and your colleagues, take a look at the lineup for Jeff Mowatt’s third annual Customer Leadership Summit in Calgary, AB on November 14.
I’m delighted to be one of the featured speakers along with five other most excellent thinkers and presenters: David Irvine, Greg Schinkel, Lisa ‘Longball’ Vlooswyk, Stephanie Staples and of course, Jeff Mowatt.
I’ll be sharing my ideas on Fueling Enthusiasm – Building A Culture of Appreciation. But, I’m just as excited about the chance to learn from the other speakers. You can, too.
Customer Service Leadership Summit. Early bird rates are in effect, as are group discounts, so be sure to take advantage of those options. Get this event on your calendar and register now.
Tags: burnout, excellence, health, nap, naps, overload, overwhelm, Pat Katz, Patricia Katz, pause, perspective, productivity, refreshment, renewal, rest, Saskatoon, speaker, stress, time, time out, wellness