My most productive, creative time was the hour or two in the late afternoon following the nap.
All my co-workers knew the deal and so did my boss. Nobody else napped, but my napping was normal and accepted.
The idea of giving that up if I ever go back to a "normal" butts-in-seats company seems stupid and uncivilized.
This has also been my experience. I often take naps around the same time and find that the nap calms me naturally and sort of distances me from any anxieties surrounding a problem I'm trying to tackle. This makes it much easier to work at it some more.
Separately I noticed that if I have any symptoms of depression (usually thoughts of despair), a nap like that can by itself often completely reverse the situation. Surprised, I did some research and was interested to find how much a lack of proper rest is associated with depression. So now the first item on my "feeling depressed" checklist is "try to take a nap".
> In the new study, published online January 15 in the journal Translational Psychiatry, the scientists investigated whether this process is responsible for the antidepressant effects of sleep deprivation. Mice with depressivelike symptoms were administered three doses of a compound that triggers adenosine receptors, thus mimicking sleep deprivation. Although the mice continued to sleep normally, after 12 hours they showed a rapid improvement in mood and behavior, which lasted for 48 hours.
> The results confirm that the adenosine buildup is responsible for the antidepressant effects of a lack of sleep. This finding points to a promising target for new drug development because it suggests that mimicking sleep deprivation chemically may offer the antidepressant benefits without the unwanted side effects of actually skipping sleep. Such an intervention could offer immediate relief from depression, in stark contrast with traditional antidepressants, which take six to eight weeks to kick in.
Curious if it'll be mimicked somehow in the form of drugs in the future.
Like, you stop feeling better around the time you stop feeling dazed and exhausted. I can see the urge to get it into drug form, it's impressively powerful, but it looks like the mechanism of action and the mechanism of the side effects are both adenosine.
I can attest somewhat to the efficacy of the practice; in younger days I did it myself on occasion, and found it often to have the beneficial effect described upthread - as well as, on the day after the sleepless night, an interesting and generally useful upsurge of sidewise and creative thought that tended to produce ideas I could capture and usefully follow up on later, after the sleepful second night.
On the other hand, younger days being now behind me, I'm no longer able to miss a night's sleep and remain awake, much less productive, on the day following. So it goes.
Fresh air and light exercise help me during those last hours, but it can be mentally difficult to force myself to doing that.
Again, it's been a while since I've done it, so it may have been a symptom of being a bit younger. Maybe I wouldn't be able for it now...
I found switching activities every 45 minutes or so kept me sufficiently engaged.
When I feel lots of anxiety that can't go away, I'll take a nap - there's a good chance it'll reset my "anxiety counter", letting me deal with whatever issue that was stressing me out. When I'm low on mood / even more anxious, I'll stay awake for one night - the extreme tiredness attenuates the anxiety, and at the end of the next day, I get a good sleep and wake up in a better mood.
Can confirm. My morning anxiety (I got nervous when I had to leave the house) has gotten better since I started sleeping only 4-5 hours per night and stopped drinking coffee in the morning.
I don't know what your life is like, but for me that's definitely the most likely explanation. When I'm not showering, meditating, or horizontal in bed, it usually means I'm reading something, watching something, working on something, or engaging actively in an internal monologue (that usually is more about reducing variables and maintaining control or the illusion of it, and less about creativity).
The moment my brain gets some free time, and there's nothing acute to worry about, ideas start to appear and I get excited.
Occam's Razor: The (simplest) explanation with the fewest assumptions tends to be the correct one.
It's almost always that simple.
Also, when you're travelling or on the train, and your wonder sense opens, you are relaxed. Less constriction to the arteries and blood vessels. As with lying horizontal, increased blood flow activates the brain.
Fast forward to the current day. That company no longer exists (it was acquired), but the co-founders went on to create another company that is doing very well. I made the decision to go freelance at the end of last year and as fate would have it I am currently working for the new company. Napping is still encouraged. They're one of the most productive, driven teams that I've ever had the pleasure of working for.
Napping is good.
- Gold standard: this is a perfect use case for sleep tracking. "Wake me in the sooner of 1 hour or 30 minutes of sleep".
- Upper bound timing. If I can't start a nap within 15-20 minutes, it's probably one I don't need. So a timer set for 35 min would suffice to get me some reasonable duration. This fails if you might need 30+ minutes.
- Caffeine naps. Drink a cup of coffee, start your nap, you'll be up in <40 minutes as the caffeine hits. This doesn't guarantee you'll get a lengthy nap, but it helps ensure you don't wake up groggy.
- Practice. I struggle to nap currently because it's not routine, I usually can't sleep quickly unless I'm exhausted. But I spent a good 6 months getting healthy sleep amounts with a daily nap, and I was usually out within 5 minutes when it was expected.
But in any event: if the coffee has affected you, you're already too late. The idea is to sleep immediately after consuming your caffeine, then wake up as/before it starts to affect you. If caffeine makes you sleepy instead of wakeful, that's probably going to be less pleasant because you won't wake up refreshed.
Finally: I suspect the sleep is helping but feeling useless. Adenosine is one chemical that makes you feel sleepy, and levels are reduced while you sleep. But caffeine is an adenosine blocker, so it's going to stop you feeling that adenosine sleepiness without disposing of it. Good sleep while caffeinated is probably hard to get, but if you succeeded I expect you would lower adenosine levels, but not feel the difference until the caffeine wore off.
Sometimes it can take me 30 minutes just to get to a point, where I might fall asleep! And another 10 to actually fall asleep!
So are these articles actually advocating that someone like me should "nap" for a total of 70 minutes? (40 to fall asleep mid-day, 30 actually sleeping)
The most dangerous thing related to sleep hygiene is creating unpleasant associations with sleep and your bed. If you're lying in bed for long periods getting pissed off, anxious, etc... Your brain will remember these emotions next time you're trying to get some rest and they will keep you from sleeping.
It sounds like hippy shit but it's super important to think of your bed like a fluffy cloud of dreams and wonders. Don't do anything in your bed except sleep & fuck or you will start associations that won't help.
It takes practice, routine and the actual need for a nap, to fall asleep immediately, though.
Also, you can learn to fall asleep faster with practice.
Even if I don't fall asleep, just focus on your breathing, slow in slow out, and try to bring yourself back to that focus if your mind ever wanders. You'll likely be more rested regardless of whether your actually fall asleep.
I can usually go to sleep with 5 minutes, if I can't, then I don't need a nap!
I set a timer for 20 minutes and get up when it goes off regardless. Sleeping for 30 minutes or more makes me feel tired when I wake up, and takes much longer to recover.
At one company it ended up being a temporary closet room with printer supply and all kind of stuff people randomly tossed in to clear the way. At my current company there's so few people using it it smells dusty and closeted to the point it's unusable to relax.
ad-hoc places worked better for me, like small meeting rooms that are unused at noon, actual storage rooms that are actually very clean and tidy compared to temporary ones, or even a park bench when weather is nice enough
My SO doesn't approve of this schedule though, so I do this only on days we're not going to see each other.
There's a few things in American culture, in particular, working against it though: our backwards cultural attitude that sleeping is considered "lazy" (USA is one of the most sleep-deprived population) and the fact that working on little sleep is falsely considered a "badge of honor," even though the occurrence of mistakes made by workers is MUCH higher when said workers are sleep deprived.
At this particular workplace, it took 90 seconds or so for me to walk from my desk to my car, so it wasn't a big deal. I was also used to the routine, and preferred the certainty that no one would ever walk in on me.
But I must say that this only only happens when (a) I am doing something boring and (b) I didn't get much sleep at home. So while cat napping at work is probably better than fighting it, it is more a mitigation strategy than a preferred option.
When one of my co-workers found out, he started borrowing my car keys (he didn't own a car then) to sleep in my car :) - apparently, he thought it was a great idea.
Out came the pillows, all lights were dimmed and calming music played through the PA system. No-one spoke, made noise during this time; quick power nap of 15 minutes did the trick for a lot of people. Definitely something I approve of; I've a small mattress in my office just for such occasions.
I don't think I could ever fall asleep in the lunch break, the morning coffee and the light outside doesn't let my brain go off.
I really don't mean to offend anyone, just curious whether the ability to fall asleep in uncomfortable environments is something asian-specific.
It's not too hard to acquire it with some practice, every time you feel like it would be a good time to have a nap, close your eyes and try to have a nap. For a while, you won't actually get to sleep, you'll just be lying or sitting there with closed eyes, but after trying for a while, you'll actually start napping or sleeping.
These days, if I'm a passenger in a vehicle for a > 30 minute trip, you're almost guaranteed to find me sleeping.
Go to China and the level of ambient noise is much higher, whether that is people talking louder or having no qualms playing music from their phone speakers at any time of the day.
So at a guess, I think that cultural conditions probably lend themselves to people of Asian heritage learning to sleep under noisier conditions. Of course, these are all anecdata and generalisations so ymmv - fwiw, my personal observations are somewhat in line with yours.
Personal anecdote: when I grew up my parents lived on a busy main road so I was used to sleeping in noisy conditions. I then moved to a quiet village - I love how silent it is on a night - but I now cannot sleep in hotels nor anywhere else unless it's absolutely silent.
They say in the army, your survival is predicated on being able to catch a wink wherever possible.
As for sleeping in quiet places, one thing I've noticed is that my tinnitus is only audible when I am not in a city, as such there have been times where I remember I have tinnitus and am temporarily unable to sleep because of it.
I find it to be very curious how in one country, blasting music at 3am on a train is fair game, while just a stone's throw away over the pond it is a social faux pas to have your mobile phone ring on public transport, let alone answer the call...
That would prove to be an interesting "control" but I have less anecdata to draw from there...
There's even a comedy sketch (don't remember with who) about how London commuters are seemingly able to enter the tube, grab hold of one of the bars, and proceed to seemingly sleep standing for the exact right number of stops.
The trick is that you learn to automatically "wake up" everytime the bus (or train) stops.
It's almost subconscious, your eyes blink 1-2 times to check where you are. And if it's the last station before you have to get out you get a small adrenaline boost :D
What kind of company is it a taboo to leave your desk for lunch?
I'm the only person who leaves the office during my lunch hour, alone. I get funny looks, and my coworkers sometimes ask me "where have you been?"
It's a weird company culture and I'm not sure how much longer I'll be able to put up with it.
You may be over analyzing it. Are you sure its not just small talk, like "where did you go for lunch, was it any good?" Talking about restaurants and food is one of the most popular conversation topics at my office.
I'd say it would depend on the tone and body language in which it was said; the words themselves, "where have you been?", could easily take on multiple meaning depending on inflection and delivery.
It could be small talk, and maybe it might be a cultural difference, but the words alone (without taking inflection, etc into account) sound accusatory to me; if they were really wanting to know where their coworker had gone to lunch, and whether it was any good or whatnot, I would think they would phrase it closer to what you wrote, rather than what the OP has stated.
I don't know how long they'll be able to keep it up as they grow, but I thought it was great.
As an introvert, being around people socially at work like this drains the hell out of me. Sure, I can put on a happy face for the meeting, but it'll also take me an extra hour or two to recharge afterwards. Which is purely wasted time.
How is it "strengthening the team" when any introvert there is surely wishing they could just do their job without these sorts of social interruptions? These extrovert-centric assumptions drive me crazy, including at my current job.
Just because this sort of social extroversion makes YOU feel more connected, please don't assume that everyone else feels the same way. I feel FAR more connected to the team quietly working on difficult projects without interruption. If I wanted to socialize I'd do it on my own time and in my own way.
In your and your coworker's situation, and the parent's situation - this may be the case - but I'd argue that it is the exception for most people and most job situations.
It is one of the driving arguments (stated or not) behind the resistance to the concept of "universal basic income" (UBI) and instead the rallying for "more jobs" (speaking from the perspective of the USA here, I don't really know what the situation is like elsewhere - I have feelings that it varies depending on the culture).
I believe that most people do build their lives around their work, and the people at them. They work with these people for a long part of their weekdays; then they go home usually to a family (children, spouse, pets) and may not have much interaction with other people who are friends (maybe a phone chat occasionally - and perhaps the rare get together). They look at their coworkers as their peer and friend group.
Unfortunately, that also brings all the baggage and strife with it such social situations can lead to. It is likely what fosters and aggravates the petty office politics and group dynamics - perhaps part of what leads to worse situations. This all can seem odd to people who are introverts and don't build their lives around their work environment, but it doesn't seem to be the norm.
That's all my opinion, and I could very well be wrong, its just based on what I have seen and experienced over my decades of employment. For what it's worth, I'm fairly introverted myself, but I also try to understand my coworkers (specifically and in the general sense) and their views on work/life, which is why I have come to these conclusions (right or wrong as the case may be, I suppose).
It probably is and I feel fortunate that I found a job that allows me to be what I consider human. I feel like the alternate situations that "force a family" upon an employee to be somewhat cruel, but I'm a fairly anti-social person for what it is worth. Maybe I mean "nonsocial"? I will leave that as an exercise for the reader.
> I believe that most people do build their lives around their work, and the people at them. They work with these people for a long part of their weekdays; then they go home usually to a family (children, spouse, pets) and may not have much interaction with other people who are friends (maybe a phone chat occasionally - and perhaps the rare get together). They look at their coworkers as their peer and friend group.
Oh yeah, the grind! I dropped out of college when I started to sense this was where my life was headed and if my former friend group is any indicator, I dodged the figurative bullet.
> That's all my opinion, and I could very well be wrong, its just based on what I have seen and experienced over my decades of employment.
You're totally right, I just reject it as the end-all-be-all and won't settle for such an outcome. Thanks for your point of view.
I worked remotely for a couple of years and now realized how much more i enjoy work when i have other developers around, otherwise i would lead a pretty lonely live.
I become obsessed and enthralled with the work itself, sometimes to the point of wanting to work 12-16 hour days to solve deeper problems that are bothersome. Working short days has never been an issue for me. This is exactly what I mean by projection. You would want to leave early if you felt isolated. But I enjoy it and want to stay longer.
>I worked remotely for a couple of years and now realized how much more i enjoy work when i have other developers around, otherwise i would lead a pretty lonely live.
This is not "fairly introverted." What you are describing is a textbook example of "fairly extroverted." You enjoy working around others and begin to feel lonely otherwise. I generally don't, in either case.
I am definitely not extroverted, i get nervous before meetings and team building events and they drain a lot of my energy and concentration during the day. It's just when working remotely for years, sometimes i didn't talk to anyone for days and that can get unhealthy after some time. I also just enjoy discussing technical issues with coworkers.
Not saying you are doing it wrong, god forbid. In my early thirties now I definitely would not work 12-16hour days anymore as an employee without being a shareholder though.
Sure, I agree with you there, and I never go days without talking to anyone. I just don't especially need to talk to many people at work. Just read my code, it's all there.
>In my early thirties now I definitely would not work 12-16hour days anymore as an employee without being a shareholder though.
Why? Sitting at home is more boring, I have more influence at work and the changes I roll out have more impact. Plus I tend to learn more on the job, become more crucial at the company, develop more skills, yada yada.
True, but i'd like to spend my freetime on my own projects and am trying to finish a CS degree part time. Combined with my learning at home, i am doing 12hour days, but I wouldn't spend all that time at the company i work for right now. Also my girlfriend wouldn't approve ;)
The founder whose idea this was is an introvert, and so are many others on the team, all of whom chose to work there knowing about this.
It's not very useful to give yourself and others a binary label and then use it to assume people's behaviors, desires, habits, etc.
Sadly we don't have the luxury of having such flexible hours and large vacation packages as is standard in foreign countries.
Luckily where I work there's a small boating lake that I can walk around just across the road which is incredibly nice to walk around for half an hour every lunch time. It's also lucky that my colleagues all like to go alone for lunch too :D
"SIG partners with external caterers to provide a buffet lunch of main courses, salads, soup, and dessert, and it changes on daily basis. So you grab a plate and head back to your desk to eat; it will give you some time to catch up on the latest tech and market news on the net as you eat."
That probably does describe a lot of my lunches. However, that is my choice. If an employer explicitly expected me to spend my lunches doing that I'd soon be an ex-employee.
They probably forgot "So you grab a plate and head back to the basement to eat at your desk."
A job is not slavery, don't treat it like it is. Assume you're free to do as you like (while getting your work done) unless indicated otherwise.
That change of lighting encourages everyone to take a rest or leave, because staying will disturb the people who want to rest. It also saves a little electricity, I suppose.
The book has a number of pieces of advice to avoid sleeping - if your aim is to nap rather than meditate, just do the opposite. E.g. part of the point of a traditional meditation pose is to create alertness (sit up straight, lift your head etc.) in part to avoid falling asleep.
Sometimes I want to stay awake and pay attention to pose etc. Sometimes I like to use the breathing etc. to have a quick nap, and instead will sit in a relaxed position, rest my head. I find it's made a big difference in how quickly I fall asleep - I now associate certain positions with "fall asleep ASAP" and certain positions with "clear your mind and stay focused", and automatically fall into certain patterns when I prepare accordingly.
Sometimes when I try to nap I never go fully under, but the relaxation and slipping away is still refreshing.
As a starter you don't have to make actual naps, just close your eyes and rest for a few minutes.
You maybe know about any good online resources for nap training?
* lay down
* set a 20 minutes timer
* close your eyes and try to relax, don't open them until the timer rings, even if you are not sleeping
* repeat daily, ideally around the same time every day
If you have troubles getting up afterwards, try a powernap: drinking one cup of coffee right before napping. The caffeine will kick in at about the same time your nap ends.
Though still, don't do this often.... That's kind of the whole point, right?
I can recommend the practice, especially to skinnier folk who would like to stay that way - too late for me, I'm afraid, despite three miles' worth of foot commute daily, but it does wonders for my afternoon productivity nonetheless, and if it doesn't actually help lose weight then it does at least help keep it stable.
For me, part of the equation was finding out when I'm most hungry naturally. Eating a proper breakfast makes me more hungry later in the day. The same goes for eating a large lunch. So I tend to skip breakfast, have a small lunch - usually just a cheese sandwich, some fruit, or a piece of bread. Possibly have a small snack (fruit, nuts, chips), and then a large dinner. This also follows my own natural energy level - I'm a night owl. My mother is the opposite.
Funny thing is, until you challenged it, I'd never really rationalized it all. But now I'm seeing something bigger than "this makes me more productive".
EDIT: I'm super curious why this would have been downvoted. Not offended at all, the opposite really, just curious what anyone found offensive here.
Whether this had any effect on their all having been successful small business owners, one of whom manufactured parts used in every Space Shuttle orbiter, I can't really speculate - that's just one of the many conversations I'll never quite be done regretting the preclusion of opportunity to have with these very worthy and remarkable men, none of whom survived into this millennium. But it wouldn't surprise me all that much.
That image caption sums up the prevailing attitude for me, really: don't be obvious that you're being more productive, especially if it goes against the grain. Better to toe the line and be less productive. There are many examples of the same phenomenon, beyond just napping.
I do meditation here and there and mostly follow this:
Power naps make me feel more refreshed, which I'd assume people would want out of their coworker/employee late in the work day, but maybe I'm wrong.
It seems like if you're so tired while you're at work that you actually want to take a nap, then maybe there is another underlying problem.
The biology term is 'arousal' and there are peaks in the morning and late afternoon, but around 1pm-ish your body naturally slows down and wants sleep. The effect is much stronger in children, but it's there with adults.
You don't feel like you could fall asleep because you've trained yourself not to, and you're most likely taking wakefulness promoting drugs all day.
There is: tiredness. Often, but not always, due to lack of sleep. A nap is the solution.
If you need 8 glasses of water a day to be at peak-performance but for whatever reason only manage to drink 7 in the morning, why not have that final glass sometime during the day? Same with sleep.
In fact it's absurd to think everybody can store energy upfront and power through 9 hours of activity without falling off towards the end.
Naps are natural.
Consider my opinion changed.
I suggest you recalibrate your definition of "normal".
I don't really fall asleep, but I found that just closing my eyes for this short amount of time gives me a tremendous boost of relaxation, especially when my mind gets into a dreamy state for a minute or so.
The amount of sleep a person needs and how long you can go without involuntarily fallin asleep seems to vary wildly though; a friend who I have reason to believe talks about working continiously for 3 days to catch a deadline. (The explanation was along the lines of: it hurts but what to do?) An ex colleague was also known to work through the night between working days.
Creative problem solving mindset needs room for thoughts to wander, and is incompatible with hurry.
I don't think that making any type of generalisations (eg. "people shouldn't be that tired") makes much sense.
The problem is that sometimes I am in the zone from like 10pm - 1am.
So naturally I am tired during the day. A few minutes to nap for 3 hours of "in the zone" ain't a bad trade off for a company in my opinion.
How long do people find most effective? I've found either 12 min or 30 min to be best for me. 30 min if I'm particularly tired, 12 min if not. If I go longer than 12 I get foggy for around 30 min after.
1. Find a good place to nap. Use the same place every day. I used to nap under my desk on a lazy bag at my last job.
2. Quickly find a comfortable position. Quickly fix everything that bothers you (like watch on your wrist or anything else that's making you uncomfortable).
3. Start breathing from your stomach - not your upper torso. Your stomach should raise up and down, not your upper torso.
4. Relax your whole body. In the beginning, start by relaxing one by one region. First your toes. Then your lower leg, then your upper leg. Then the other leg... Until you relax your whole body. It should feel as your mind is separate from your body. Like it could go out of it. Your body should be completely numb. Later, as you progress, you will be able to relax your whole body with a few breaths. As if some force flows from your stomach and removes spasm from your body as you breath out.
5. Start removing thoughts from your brain. As you start thinking about something, just stop. Another thought comes in. Kill it. Just kill thoughts. You can think only about your breathing. Nothing else.
That's it. With these steps, I'm able to feel a sleep in just a few moments. I use that all the time.
Bonus: I have a special position that I "developed" that mitigates office sounds. I nap on my back, slightly turned on left side. I put my left ear on the pillow or a lazy bag. I put my right hand over my right ear and over my head. That way, a pillow isolates my left ear, while my right biceps isolates my right ear from sounds. I found this to be very effective.
Good luck napping.
I've heard in some cases there are secret nap meetings where all the attendees agree to take a nap.
Then use metrics other than bums on seats to measure performance.
For me that balance is at about 400 to 500 mg of caffeine per day. Stays stable for months and months, then I tend to reset a bit during a vacation of or 3-day weekend of some sort.
Don't need caffeine at all if I'm not mentally working. Barrly crosses my mind.
Rationally you'll explain and show the article from NYT, and they'll agree. But irrationally they'll still form an opinion and stick to it.
To each their own, if it works for you that's great.
I exercise 5 times a day, and I eat a very clean diet. Not keto or paleo, but definitely low in carbs, high in fat and vegetables etc. I still sleep for 20 minutes at lunch. Human adults are tuned to feel sleepy after being up for 8 hours or so.
> In a study published in Nature Neuroscience, researchers tested subjects on their perceptual performance four times throughout the day. Performance deteriorated with each test, but subjects who took a 30-minute nap between tests stopped the deterioration in performance, and those who took a 60-minute nap even reversed it.
It always amazes me when someone just assumes that US companies are somehow superior to the rest of the world. I've worked for a couple of US based companies and the experience was shit compared to other non-US companies I worked for.
However, you do expect some kind of "business culture" especially because the company usually forces the advertisement for it onto you whether you want or not. Our floor are plastered with Fremdscham posters and phrases in english. Often you also hear a manager in a meeting praising some new trope from the East Coast regarding office layout or similar.
What really sticks with is the informal "you" though. It's really helpful most of the time.
Noone ever asked, 'hey, what have you been doing in the bathroom for the last 10 minutes??'
Seriously, since I wrote this, I really thought about what may happen if I try. I thought maybe some people would be too polite to wake me up. Others may try to call me but I know at least one that would kick my door in just to see my shocked face. It would cause some talk for sure. I see things going this way: "Aluhut is not getting enough sleep at home...maybe he has some trouble with his girl" or "...he's partying through the whole night! I'm sure about that!". Whatever it might be in the end, I'm pretty sure it would all focus on the fact that I've done something wrong causing me not to be fit for work.
FWIW, I don't see why it would have to be either a perk or a necessity, rather than a potential productivity booster that shouldn't be mandatory but can be beneficial to both the employee and the company. I would put things like allowing employees to listen to music on headphones while at work into the same bucket.
But if it is indeed a potential productivity booster, why would you skip the nap during service interruptions or product releases?
Unless your service interruption is lasting all day (in which case you have bigger problems), it's much better for the company to get the site back up in 10 minutes than to wait 30 minutes for you to finish your nap and then get it back up in 8 minutes. Especially if you're losing $10K in revenue (or more) for every minute of downtime.
Whereas the work you'll be doing once the service is back up can be done more efficiently or creatively or thoughtfully after a nap, but won't suffer from being pushed back half an hour.
Releases, well, that depends on your release process.
When you say "perk", I think of something that's offered to attract employees because it goes beyond what's typically expected from a baseline office (be it free soda, gym memberships, or $3000 chairs).
When you say "necessity," I think of something the employee can't be reasonably productive or present without (a desk, an internet connection, a keyboard, a restroom).
There's a lot of stuff that fits in between or outside those two categories. There are things that are above the absolute necessity baseline but too much within the level of expectation to be considered a perk. Free coffee comes to mind. So does a microwave in the break room/kitchen. Or (on the west coast) a casual dress code.
Others aren't there specifically to make the job more attractive to employees - but may have that effect on some (an open floor plan; a well defined professional development ladder). You'll notice that some of these are neutral or a turn-off to other employees. They also tend to be things that the company leadership will help make the company more effective.
So I don't see something like allowing headphones while working as either. It's too mundane and expected to be a perk; and as an employee I may consider it a necessity, but I'm pretty sure my employer just sees it as part of a relaxed culture and a way to mitigate the distractions of the open floor plan.
Naps are certainly not a necessity from almost any employer's POV. An employee is generally expected to be able to be productive without one; and they're far from an expectation in any job in the US. They're certainly not necessities. For some employees they'd be seen as a perk, while (as this HN discussion seems to demonstrate) others would disdain a culture that accepted naps. But I suspect that companies that allow them consider them to be a part of the culture rather than a perk - something that's less about making the job seem attractive and more about creating a more pleasant and effective work environment.
Does that make any sense?