Tired At Work? Take A Nap | KERA News

Tired At Work? Take A Nap

Apr 15, 2015

On your way into work this morning, there’s a good chance you were still sleepy. The good news is, you can fix that if you can find as little as 15 minutes. Tuesday on Think, sleep expert Dr. James Maas talked to Krys Boyd about the benefits of the power nap.

For many years, Dr. James Maas was a productivity consultant for IBM, where he warned against the cheap jolt of the afternoon coffee break.

"I said, rather than take a coffee or Coke break in the middle of the afternoon, which is going to ruin your sleep that night – destroy your REM sleep – why not take what I termed a power nap,” he said.

All you need for that power nap is about 15 to 20 minutes – about what you’d spend on a coffee break anyway.

“Any longer and it might cause nocturnal insomnia or make it a lot harder to fall asleep right away. And it might make you groggy when you wake up from that nap at work," he says. "So for the next hour or two, you could be worthless, productivity-wise.”

Another option if you can swing it is a long lunch. 

“If you really need more and have the time to have more, never 60 – but 90 minutes – a complete REM cycle so you don’t wake up out of deep sleep," he says.

Which sounds great if you’ve got an office with a couch like Don Draper on Mad Men. But if you’re stuck at a cube, Maas has you covered should the boss tap your shoulder during your power nap.

“Before you raise your head, just say … 'Amen' and then put your head up and look at your boss. ‘What can I do for you, boss?’”

Even if the boss doesn’t buy the prayer timeout, your increased productivity should make up for the deception.

Dr. James Maas will teach a One-Day University class on April 25 called “The Science of Sleep: Everything You Need to Know But Were Too Tired to Ask.”