Working from home often means a more flexible schedule, a more relaxed dress code and an opportunity to be there for some of the more important days in your family member’s lives. It also means you have to juggle that flexible schedule with everything that happens at home during the day, you have to remember to put clothes on before conference calls and you have to get your work done regardless of whether something exciting is happening in the next room.
While you might enjoy some of the hustle and bustle, you’re likely going to get tired at some point. Unfortunately, that tiredness often hits in the middle of your work day. You do have the evening to look forward to, but that’s sometimes too long to wait. Should you take a powernap during your at-home work day?
Powernaps Offer a Wide Variety of Benefits
If you ask around, you’re probably going to get all kinds of opinions from pro-nappers and anti-nappers, but science suggests taking a nap during the day is actually advantageous in a variety of ways. If you work from home, you may experience the following benefits after a mid-day nap:
- Improved Alertness – Giving your body and mind a chance to shut down for a short period of time can improve your ability to stay alert for the remainder of your work day.
- Increased Creativity – Whether you have writer’s block or are hitting another creative wall, you could wake up refreshed and with new ideas to further your work.
- Decreased Mistakes – When you’re tired and drowsy, you make more mistakes. Getting a nap in during the day can decrease the amount of mistakes you make in your work.
- Boosted Mood – Sometimes a small snack and a quick nap can turn your attitude from grumpy to happy, which is something you may need if you’re feeling the stress of work on your shoulders.
- Improved Memory – It’s important your mind is keen and you can remember everything you’ve done and need to do for your job, and a nap can help you keep your memory sharp.
There Are Also Some Drawbacks of Mid-Day Naps
Almost everything with benefits does come with drawbacks. If you’re considering a nap while working from home, you should understand some of those drawbacks so you can make a smart decision on whether to give yourself that kind of break during the day:
- Feeling Groggy – Particularly if you sleep too long, you could wake up feeling groggy, which is only going to diminish your ability to think clearly and be productive.
- Missing Something Important – For your job, you might have deadlines to meet and business calls to be a part of. If you end up sleeping through those important events, it could negatively affect your employment.
- Interrupting Nighttime Sleep – If you begin taking naps and end up having a harder time getting a restful sleep at night, it’s possible a nap isn’t something you should do. You need a restful sleep at night for many important reasons related to your health and wellbeing, so that should be a top priority.
- Decreasing Productivity Levels – Some people simply can’t do naps during the day because it takes too much out of them and they end up decreasing their own productivity levels. Being comfortable at home could hurt your job security if you’re not careful.
The Length of Your Nap Makes a Difference
If the pros and cons of a mid-day nap while working from home stack up in your favor, there are some other things you should know. For example, your nap should only be about 15 or 20 minutes long. This is plenty of time for you to fall deep enough asleep that your mind and body can relax, but not long enough for you to get into a deep sleep that includes REM. If you wake up in the middle of REM so you can get back to work, it’s only going to cause more fatigue. Your body should wake up naturally after a short, light nap to experience the full benefits.
Another thing you should understand is if you take your nap too close to your regular bedtime, you might have a harder time falling asleep at night and getting a good night’s rest. Experts recommend you give yourself at least five or six hours between your nap and your bedtime hour. If you turn in at 10:00 PM every night, you shouldn’t nap any later than just before 5:00 PM. This gives you enough time to get up and get moving, be productive with the remainder of your work day, and wear yourself out again in time for bed.
You Should Understand Where To Nap for the Greatest Benefit
Working from home may be a challenge when it comes to naps. Especially if you’re tired during your work day, you might just want to go crawl into bed. Crawling under the covers will feel so comfortable, and your pillow will add to the comfort. It’s a bad idea though.
Avoid your bedroom at all costs when you’re napping during the day while working from home. If you nap in your room, you’re likely to sleep longer, which could result in some of the drawbacks mentioned previously. You might try a couch instead, or even a reclining rocking chair. If you have a cot or some patio furniture, and if it’s good weather, you could always take your cat nap outside. Sleeping somewhere other than your bed lets your body know this is just a quick nap, so you typically won’t fall into a deep sleep.
Putting Your Feet Up Helps You Relax More Quickly
If you don’t have a whole lot of time for your break, you may want to figure out the best way to fall asleep quickly . One suggestion is putting your feet up. Elevating the feet actually tells your body it’s time to relax. Wearing a sleep mask because of the brightness of the day could also help your body settle down so you can fall asleep sooner.
Creating a Routine Can Help You Get Adequate Rest
One of the most important things to remember is to keep your sleep routine on a fairly strict schedule so you don’t throw off your body’s natural circadian rhythm. When you go to bed at night and wake up in the morning at the same time each day, your body gets used to that and creates a rhythm that keeps you healthy. When you switch it up, your body gets confused and doesn’t complete the entire sleep cycle. This ends up making you groggy, confused and lethargic.
The same is true for napping. Your body gets used to having a nap each day. After a while, you are trained to fall asleep at a certain time, and even wake up 15 or 20 minutes later without the need for an alarm clock. This is how you experience many of the benefits discussed previously.
What’s Your Take?
You can see there are some pros and cons of taking a powernap while working from home, and you can see there is a right and a wrong way to do it. What’s your take on the subject? Do you feel a powernap is right for your situation, or are you going to hold back and get all your rest at night? There’s no right or wrong answer, as everyone’s bodies are different and dealing with different circumstances.