When you're a kid, you don't fully appreciate the little things that make your days better, like having your apples sliced for you, your sandwiches cut in half, your shoelaces secured just so, and the best of all — daily nap time.
Sometimes I think back on those blue-cot siestas with a wistfulness that makes me sigh. Then I remember that I have control over my ow bedtime and it seems like a fine compromise.
But if you find it harder to let go of those halcyon days, Tim Herrera, a writer at the New York Times has a bold plan for you: "Take Naps at Work. Apologize to No One."
"In the past two weeks I’ve taken three naps at work, a total of an hour or so of shut-eye while on the clock. And I have no shame or uncertainty about doing it," he wrote in a recent column. "I couldn’t feel better about it, and my productivity reflects it, too."
Well, la di da for him. Sleeping at work is a luxury. It isn't something most people can do without eventually sleeping at home when they get fired — which Herrera actually acknowledges.
I agree with Herrera that few things, including a job, are worth working yourself down to the bone for. Getting ahead/doing better/making a dent in your workload can sometimes require putting in longer hours.
However, being sleep deprived probably means you won't do that great of a job anyway. Maybe your boss' (or your own self-imposed) "sleep when you're dead" mentality needs to be altered. Research suggests that the effects of sleep deprivation can lead to an impairment similar to having a blood alcohol level twice the 0.05% legal limit.
Plus, there are some cases in which sleeping on the job might be a cause for concern, or something your employer needs to address. For example, maybe you should be getting paid for sleeping at work, like firefighters are. Or maybe you have an illness or sleep disorder that an employer can accommodate while you work to manage your health issues.
In 2010, one worker in South Carolina went to trial after her employer fired her for sleeping on the job. She alleged that they violated company policy by asking her to work while she adjusted to new medication, which led to her nodding off on the clock. (Remember, the Family Medical Leave Act covers time off such as this.) She didn't win her case — but there are some cases in which you might have grounds to plead your case that time off to rest is a necessity.
As thoughtful as some of Herrera's how-to tips are — "find a quiet, unoccupied space where you won’t be disturbed; try to make your area as dim as possible (or invest in a sleep mask you can keep in the office)" — not everyone works in an office that will tolerate someone catching some ZZZs. Not to mention that not everyone works in an office at all. The five million people who work in food service can't exactly take a cat nap on their shifts. (If you've ever worked as a server, you know there's barely even time to pee.)
Perhaps Herrera's most useful tip is to find a way to make your nap happen out of the office. Maybe a nearby café (hey, the lighting's right)? Or maybe the library or gym? The 43% of Americans who worked remotely last year might have an easier time working this out. The rest of us will have to rely on Spotify and caffeine.