Photo: Kazi Tahsin Agaz Apurbo
"Nature has not intended mankind to work from eight in the morning until midnight without that refreshment of blessed oblivion which, even if it only lasts twenty minutes, is sufficient to renew all the vital forces"
— Winston Churchill, Former Prime Minister, United Kingdom.
We are a minority: among all the mammals there are, human beings belong to that tiny 15 percent who are monophasic sleepers. Unlike our polyphasic counterparts, we have the night reserved for sleep and the daytime for wakefulness. And we cannot be really certain whether this had always been the natural pattern for us or not. We might, through numerous generations, have taught ourselves - because of our work and other pressing demands - to sleep only once.
To make things worse, we are getting busier and busier, with our schedules becoming more demanding than ever.
But are you busier than the iconic wartime leader, Winston Churchill, was? He knew the importance of naps, which he religiously included in his schedule. And it was not just Churchill. Many renowned figures, from Napoleon Bonaparte to Thomas Edison, believed in the power of naps.
A short nap can improve your alertness and performance. But a long nap can make you enter into a deep sleep, and when that gets interrupted, you are likely to suffer from sleep inertia, which is a state of grogginess and disorientation when you are woken during deep sleep.
But how do you define a 'short' nap? There are a few recommendations of duration. A power nap, which is taken to provide the much-needed energy boost and revitalisation, should be around ten to thirty minutes. If you start to nap regularly, you will be able to find out the duration that suits you most.
It's not just the duration, the timing of the nap is important as well. Naps ought to be taken somewhere during midday. That way, you can enjoy a halftime while not causing any change or interference with the night's sleep schedule.
By the way, sleeping during the night can never be underestimated, and while naps will give the necessary boosts, keep in mind that they are never sufficient enough to replace deep sleeps during the night.
Napping results in a wide plethora of health benefits - mental, emotional and physical. So, it comes as no surprise that naps can improve productivity.
That's why some organisations like Google encourages its employees to doze off for sometime, providing them with special chairs and spaces dedicated to this purpose.
You might not be fortunate enough to work at such an office. In fact, napping might even be wrongly perceived as being a waste of time. Nevertheless, try to find a time and space for napping.
Can you quicken lunch and squeeze in a little bit of time? Can you go to the parking lot and doze off in your car? Is your home nearby, so that you can leave office for a nap and come back? Is there an empty room that no one uses, or a conference hall that you know will remain free for a few minutes?
Find out a way that suits your convenience, so that you can, like Churchill, 'renew all the vital forces'.