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Nap Time? Sleeping at Work Boosts Productivity

Nap Time? Sleeping at Work Boosts Productivity
Credit: Rido/Shutterstock

Employers have long frowned upon workers dozing off at their desk in the middle of the day. However, new research shows that letting workers sleep on the job can actually be a good thing for businesses.

Providing employees with napping pods or offering extended breaks can improve their productivity by counteracting impulsive behavior and boosting tolerance for frustration, according to a study from the University of Michigan. In addition, napping can also increase workplace safety.

Results from this study and previous research shows that not sleeping through the night can impair workers' attention and memory and contribute to fatigue, indicates that staying awake for an extended period of time hinders people from controlling negative emotional responses, said Jennifer Goldschmied, a University of Michigan doctoral student and the study's lead author.

"Our results suggest that napping may be a beneficial intervention for individuals who may be required to remain awake for long periods of time by enhancing the ability to persevere through difficult or frustrating tasks," Goldschmied said in a statement.

For the study, researchers examined how a brief nap affected the emotional control of 40 adults between ages 18 and 50. [Having a Hard Time Sleeping? Blame Your Phone ]

During the experiment, researchers randomly assigned participants either a 60-minute nap opportunity or a no-nap period that involved watching a nature video. All of the participants then completed tasks on computers and answered questions about sleepiness, mood and impulsivity.

The study's authors found that participants who napped spent more time trying to solve a task than the non-nappers who were less willing to endure the frustration required to complete it. Nappers also reported feeling less impulsive.

The study, which appears in the current online issue of Personality and Individual Differences, was co-authored by University of Michigan professor Patricia Deldin, University of Michigan graduate student Philip Cheng and University of Michigan research assistants Kathryn Kemp, Lauren Caccamo and Julia Roberts.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer and editor with nearly 20 years in media. A 1998 journalism graduate of Indiana University, Chad began his career with Business News Daily in 2011 as a freelance writer. In 2014, he joined the staff full time as a senior writer. Before Business News Daily, Chad spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Chad has also worked on the other side of the media industry, promoting small businesses throughout the United States for two years in a public relations role. His first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Chicago suburbs.