Feeling drowsy? You could pour a cup of coffee or take a brisk walk, but there is a cozier alternative: the nap. Daytime dozing is becoming a workplace trend. Ben & Jerry’s, Zappos, Uber and Google have installed dedicated nap spaces in their
headquarters, in hopes that some midday shuteye will boost employee productivity and
creativity. While company nap rooms might still be an exception rather than a rule, a sizeable
fraction of Americans still find a way to squeeze in a nap. According to a 2009 report by the
Pew Research Center, a third of U.S. adults nap on any given day.
For people who don’t catch enough Zs during the night, daytime naps can improve
alertness and motor performance. “Everybody agrees that if you are sleep deprived, you can’t
learn, perform or think very well,” says Jerome Siegel, PhD, director of the Center for Sleep
Research at the University of California, Los Angeles.
But for healthy adults who do get a reasonable
amount of nighttime sleep, is there any benefit to
a midday nap? Signs point to yes, says Kimberly A.
Cote, PhD, a psychology professor at Brock University
in Ontario. While little work has been done to look
at the long-term effects of habitual napping, studies
point to a variety of immediate benefits following an
afternoon nap. “If you’re talking about a healthy adult
population, I think just about anyone could benefit
from a nap,” she says.