Secrets to the Perfect Office Power Nap

Most of us office slaves know that it's recommended that we step away from the monitors and take a quick break at least every couple of hours, whether it's grabbing a cup of coffee, heading out for lunch, or strolling across the cube farm to talk to a coworker. What if that's not enough though? Given the economic climate the past few years, more people are chaining themselves to their desks, working longer hours, and working through (or outright skipping) lunch. With these late nights at the office, and our unwillingness to give up our personal lives, our sleep patterns are suffering. The old standby of 8 hours a night is a lofty goal for most. A BLS study from 2011 lists the average night of sleep as 7.6 hours for working Americans ages 25-4 with children, but how many of us actually believe that? Perhaps it's regional, but I know I get about 5, and that seems to be par for the course for people I know. So it's become necessary for me to perfect the art of the In-Office-Powernap. Here's how to pull it off.

The Rules

  • Know your limits. In general, keep it to 20 minutes or less. And don't take more than one nap a day. If you actually need more, then you need to find a way to sleep more at night.
  • Know your environment. Avoid high-traffic areas, and if the boss makes his/her rounds at 2, be there at 1:55.
  • Know yourself. If you snore, or tend to slip into deep sleep quickly, this may not be for you.
  • Know when to throw in the towel. Even after a powernap, if you can't keep your eyelids from slamming shut, do yourself a favor and take the rest of the day off. Chances are you're not needed at the office anyway.

Make Your Bed

First, you need to find a good spot to nap. It should be warm, relatively dark, and quiet, but most importantly of all, secluded. Any of the following will suffice.

  • Your own office. The standard spot for middle-management napping. If you're lucky enough to have an office, then just pretend to take a call, take your phone off the hook, and lean back in your chair. Easy as pie.
  • Wellness room. If you're fortunate enough to work for a company that provides a whole room for this, use it! Don't abuse it though. Occupy only for a little while to keep it free for your coworkers.
  • Breakout room. No, not the break room, I'm talking about a room that many companies provide for employees to step away from the office without leaving the office for things like personal phone calls. Again, just like the Wellness Room, don't abuse this priviledge.
  • Your car. Not the top choice, but certainly doable. Park a distance from the office and you get the added benefit or seclusion and an invigorating walk back to the office. But that could cut into nap time, so try to balance it out. And technically it's not actually in the office...

Now we get to some of the more creative solutions. Not always for the faint of heart, but these could save you in a pinch.

  • The bathroom. You heard right, it might be a bit out there, but this can be one of the best spots to grab some Z's...so long as you can stand the smell. Hit a stall in the corner and either just hang your head or use the TP roll as a pillow. This one got me through two years of a dead-end, life-sucking job. A word of caution, avoid this one if you're a snorer, and don't spend too long in there or people might start to wonder.
  • The server room. If you're lucky enough to work in IT, you've hit the jackpot. You'll have access to some areas that nobody else does, and best of all, you've got business being in there. It's typically climate controlled, there's equipment to hide behind, and the hum of the electronics makes for wonderful background noise. And if someone pops in, just pretend to be fixing something and mumble some tech-lingo. Works every time.
  • Storage closet. Almost every company has at least one of these, though it's unfortunately usually locked down to just the operations staff. Tucked in the corner, hardly ever accessed, these can be a great spot in a pinch. Just don't get pinched.
  • Coat closet. Too risky for the winter, but these hardly get any use during the summer. Choose the closet furthest away from the main entrance; it's the least used. Only do this if the closet is in an out of the way hallway/corner though, not in the main office area.


Get Back to Work!!!

You know your office best. Remember to limit yourself, both in quantity and duration, and play it safe. Though I'm sure most office workers would appreciate a pre-school style daily nap-time (and I'm sure we need it more than them), management and HR would certainly frown upon it. Keep it quiet, and work that much harder afterwards to cover yourself.


Do you have a favorite office nap-spot? Tell me about it in the comments!


Happy napping!

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shuck72 profile image

shuck72 4 years ago from Seattle

Great topic, I don't nap at work mysself but work with a guy who does and snores, I will send him this article.

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