News to Tell Your Boss: A Midday Nap Might Make You Work Harder



If you’re thinking a nap is in order right about now, you might be right — and you shouldn’t be scared to tell your boss so: A small study out of the University of Michigan found that folks who got a midday nap in worked twice as long at completing difficult tasks before giving up than those who didn’t get some shut-eye in, Science of Us reports.

Here’s how the study worked: At around 1 p.m., when people tend to get tired, study participants were rounded up to complete tasks including a designed-to-be-frustrating assignment to measure their ability to deal with, well, frustrating work. The irritating assignment required them to draw geometric designs on a sheet of paper without tracing any line more than once or lifting their pencil up. Yeah, sounds pretty awful, right? Impossible, actually. But researchers just wanted to see how long the participants would keep at it. Folks tried for about a minute on average before throwing in the towel.

Afterward, half of the volunteers got their snooze on for an hour while the other half watched a nature documentary. When they returned, they tried the impossible task again. The nature documentary watchers gave up after 45 seconds while the nappers kept on truckin’ for a full 90 seconds. So they worked twice as long to complete the difficult task than those who didn’t nap, and harder than they’d worked at it pre-nap. Meaning: A midday nap could make you push harder to solve difficult problems at work. We’re thinking that’s something your boss would appreciate, don’t you?

And there you have it: Your excuse to crawl under your desk and shut your eyes for a few minutes today. (Although, science says a full hour of sleep could leave you feeling groggy. You might have better luck keeping your snooze session at around 20 minutes.)

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