We all crave a nap at one point or another, especially those of us working from the comfort of our homes, where the temptation to take a sneaky nap can be hard to resist…Sometimes, napping can be just the thing we need, boosting our afternoon productivity significantly.

However, at other times, it might leave us feeling groggy and sleepier than before we slept, impacting our work performance. To find out the right times to nap and when you should resist the urge, Mattress Online spoke to the expert in all things sleep, The Sleep Geek (also known as James Wilson), offering insights particularly beneficial for employees working from home and might be tempted to nap throughout their workday.

Key Takeaways:

  • Nap before 2 pm to avoid disrupting your evening sleep, keeping in mind work-from-home schedules that may offer more flexibility in nap timing.
  • The optimum length to nap is between five and 15 minutes, enough to rejuvenate without compromising your focus during work hours.
  • Trial different locations to nap in – while napping in bed can work well for some, for others it makes it difficult to wake. Finding a comfortable napping spot that doesn’t encourage oversleeping is key, especially for those who have turned their bedrooms into their offices.
  • Having caffeine before napping gives some people an additional boost of energy on waking, but it doesn’t work for everyone. This technique might be particularly useful for remote workers looking to maximize their productivity post-nap.

The benefits of napping for remote workers include a boost of alertness and productivity, which can be crucial for those tackling complex projects or in need of overcoming an afternoon slump.

James Wilson, otherwise known as The Sleep Geek, comments:

Naps are a great way to battle the symptoms of sleep deprivation. They can give you a boost of alertness, make you more productive, and can help if you are sleeping against your natural circadian rhythm; for example, if you are a natural night owl who has been forced to get up at 5am for work. They can also be a godsend for shift workers  – a nap will fill the gaps in their sleep, helping them meet their sleep needs. This is particularly true when trying to sleep during the day.

James Wilson, The Sleep Geek

However, the dark side of napping includes potential impacts on ‘sleep homeostasis’—a critical consideration for those working from home, where the lines between work and rest can blur. Taking a nap close to your regular bedtime can result in a surplus of sleep, making it hard to turn in for the night and potentially disrupting the next day’s productivity.

How to create the best napping experience for work-from-home employees:

  • Choose your location wisely: Opt for a non-bed location to prevent a short nap from turning into a prolonged sleep session, which can derail your workday.
  • Timing is key: Napping before 2 o’clock in the afternoon is ideal, aligning with the natural dip in afternoon energy levels while minimising the impact on night-time sleep. In terms of how long, research shows the optimum time for a nap is five to 15 minutes. However, it is hard to control sleep in this way. Set your alarm for 30 minutes – it might take you 10 to 15 minutes to fall asleep and then you get 10 to 15 minutes of napping. This will be enough to leave you alert and active, but not so much that you are heavy headed and confused.
  • Consistency first and foremost: You’ll get more from napping if you do it regularly at the same time, particularly if your lifestyle means that not napping will see you failing to meet your sleep needs, leaving you sleep deprived.

Finally, the concept of caffeine naps might be an innovative way for home-based employees to get the double benefit of nap rejuvenation and caffeine alertness, tailoring their rest to meet both their sleep and work needs effectively.

Editor at Workplace Wellbeing Professional | Website | + posts

Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.