Having consciously tried to get enough sleep over the past 2 years or so, I believe he's right. These days, I barely notice any afternoon dip and when I do, it's when my sleep has been disturbed for some reason.
Basically, all the evidence he provides points to a built-in nap time. I, of course, take the physicist's side over the physician's...
I'm all for being productive on company time, but I don't sacrifice my own time for it. And I certainly don't go so far as to hide things I do from the company, like leaving the premises to go take a nap.
For example, if you're having trouble with a tough business/programming problem, a stroll through an art museum can be very beneficial. Personally, I like to walk along the lake (Chicago) or walk through parks and let my mind wander.
I did some looking around and apparently earlier sleep stages can easily be confused for being awake, especially for light sleepers. It may sound weird, but sleep perception is a funny thing. Some people nap quite easily, yet conclude they did not sleep at all because they never perceive themselves falling asleep or waking up.
I've noticed that if it accidentally turns into a longer session, a sweet snack and a glass of water helps with the irritability a little.
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I just wish naps were more accepted in the corporate world. When I have a startup again, I'd love to have a "nap" room for employees. Google has sleep pods: http://www.businessinsider.com/google-sleep-pods-2010-6
Here is a TED talk that touch upon the subject as well:
As a college student, I understand how useful naps are. Students live in short bursts of concentration during the day (e.g. when in class), and that 30 minute nap between classes is a life saver. Heck, a lot of our conversations involve talking about naps in its intricate details. Like many great entrepreneurs say, the most important features and ideas will be brought up over and over again over time. And napping is one of those great, haunting ideas.
Although I guess there are probably few enough people like me that excluding us won't really harm you, it still seems over-the-top to require it. And yes, I imagine you were exaggerating, but just saying.
And you're right, sometimes I can't fall asleep during my naps, but that's OK for me. Then I just make it into a relaxing/meditation session.
1) I don't ever fall asleep. So it's mostly just resting and relaxing with my eyes closed.
2) I fall asleep 10 minutes into the 30 minutes and wake exactly one minute before my alarm rings. My body somehow learned to do this, probably because the alarm sound is so painful. But I can tell that I wake up (I'm not sure who "I" is; it's more of a subconscious thing) right before I fall into a REM sleep.
They were sweet naps, though.
does that sentence make sense?
2. Over the entirety of a long flight, test pilot reaction times initially, then at regular intervals until the end of the flight. Result: Without a nap, final reaction times are 34% slower than initial reaction times.
Yes, it's a little bit of a factoid soup, and citations would have been nice.
"Pilots who nap for 30 minutes on a long haul flight improve their reaction time by an average 16% versus their initial reaction time. Pilots who don't take a nap experience a decline in their reaction times making their reaction to stimulus 34% [?] slower by the end of the flight."
People tend to say a persons "reaction time has decreased" when they mean the time taken to react has increased, reaction time is given as if it's a score rather than a time period.
Of course, as stated, not taking a nap apparently gives a greater improvement, so presumably they didn't actually mean "decrease" and instead meant "increase."
Take 100 pilots. Test them all right before flying. Instruct 50 to nap during the flight. Instruct 50 not to. Compare each individual's response time after the flight to their response time before the flight. Aggregate by group. Perform a t-test (or another appropriate test) asking whether or not the difference (after minus before) is the same in both groups, or if one group performs better.
And I'd further suggest that this is only particularly relevant to pilots, where the burst of energy you get following a nap might be worthwhile, since you don't need sustained energy to pilot, only enough to manage the difficult landings and takeoffs.
For programmers, you need sustained concentration, so you need a solid seven hours of sleep per night (and from what I've read, especially for those under 25, 9 hours is a much better figure, and it will significantly improve your capacity to learn.)
This stood out to me as the most important statement in the article. The problem is that a large chunk our society is based upon measurable quantities, whether they make sense or not (see: 40 hour work weeks, GPA, etc). Unfortunately, human potential energy is not quantifiable (yet).
>> When I awoke, I felt incredibly rejuvenated. Where I might otherwise have dragged myself through the afternoon, I was able to focus effectively on work other than writing until 7 pm or so, without feeling fatigued.
I actually work on a very similar system except it is 2 3x45 minute sessions instead of 3 90-minute sessions. Like the author though, I find I can't do anymore programming after 4.5 hours of productive work but after taking a nap , I have lots of energy to do other activities that interest me.
1. Buy a device from myzeo.com
2. Go to sleep at night, and review the times that you entered deep sleep
3. Take a nap during the day wearing the zeo, then figure out the time you enter deep sleep. That might be N minutes since you turned the device on.
4. Then, nap for a little less than N minutes.
If you determine that you start going into deep sleep at 30 minutes in #3, then you should set your alarm for 26-28 minutes. You'll feel refreshed.
I think any startup which encourages its employees to take a nap is at great advantage.
Let's hope studies like this can spark a discussion within mainstream corporate culture.
Outside of creative fields like programming, I imagine it's a little bit more skewed towards "working hard", but that mostly amounts to showing up to meetings. If you don't have a meeting scheduled, nobody will notice.
(Personal experience: my work-from-home job with a company of 5 was much stricter than my work-in-the-office job at the 5th biggest company in the US. It's not "corporate culture", it's neurotic manager culture.)
Is there anyone that does take naps in the afternoon?
As a side effect, dinner shifts later in the day. This is noticeable in places where siestas are common, like Spain -- early breakfast, nothing happening in the mid-afternoon, and then everyone emerges for dinner and night life around 8-10 p.m.
Personally I prefer this polyphasic sleep, because I have more functionally active waking hours and I experience very vivid and memorable dreams which, though rarely "pleasant," are always incredibly moving and feel critically important to me
I do not know if this is universal or if it is genetically unique to my lineage, as again, I've noticed many in my family are the same way as me in this regard. I assume others must then be this way as well, though they may not have been raised thinking this behavior is normal or desirable.
The issue comes with scheduling, and this is not always possible. Luckily most of my family is well-off enough to demand whatever they so wish in their vocation. I think most startup founders might be this way also.
I'm interested in this concept of mid-day rejuvenation. However, which works better, naps or meditation? Or does each serve its own purpose?
Regardless, I think space would be the biggest issue. I don't think most companies could afford to have sleeping pods like Google.
Let me get this straight : you want to force your views and fads upon my lifestyle and make it a formal policy, all the while increasing my working hours because now I have to take a nap during working hours and I still have to put in my 8 hours? And I get no compensation for the increased hours. No Thanks !!1