Giving Employees the Possibility to Take a 30 Minute Nap Improves Productivity

Good sleep is essential for good health. If you suffer from insomnia, there are a few tricks that can help you get back to sleep, such as reading a book or watching a boring documentary to take your mind off things. This is important because it only takes three bad nights for your health to take the wrong turn. In a new study published in The Quarterly Journal of Economics scientists from MIT found that lying in bed for longer periods of time is not necessarily good for the body if there is no quality sleep.

Woman in Deep Sleep

Woman in Deep Sleep

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Fragmented sleep

Researchers studied the sleep of 452 low-income workers in Chennai, India, for a month. To do this, they used actigraphs, small wearable motion sensors that monitor sleep cycles. In the study, the scientists gave the participants an extra 27 minutes of sleep and checked how this affected their daytime performance.

The results showed that the extra sleep time did not result in increased productivity at work, lower blood pressure, or improved well-being. “To our surprise, these measures had no positive effect on the outcomes we measured,” said Frank Schilbach, author of the study. The volunteers increased their sleep time by 38 minutes reflecting their difficult sleeping conditions.

Read Also: University of Montreal: Sleepwalking Is the Result of Poorly Regulated Deep Sleep

Quality over quantity

The participants’ nights were fragmented, waking up an average of 31 times a night. A key feature that stands out is that their sleep efficiency was low, adds Frank Schilbach. They had very little time to experience the restorative effects of deep sleep. The amount of sleep increased as a result of the intervention, as they spent more time in bed, but the quality of their sleep did not change.”

These results show that it is better to sleep deeper than to increase the amount of sleep. “Adding sleep of poor quality may not bring the benefits that an extra half hour of sleep would bring if it were of higher quality,” the researchers continued.

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Sleep as a credible alternative

One way to reverse these results is to nap during the day. Those who were able to sleep for half an hour during working hours performed better in several of the categories measured. “In contrast to sleeping at night, we found clear evidence that napping improves a range of outcomes, including productivity, cognitive function, and psychological well-being,” concluded Frank Schilbach.

Final Thoughts

Clearly, the study showed the benefits of deep sleep; would it not be beneficial for employers to give their employees a 30 min period for a nap during working hours?  What do you think? Please share your thoughts with the readers of Gilmore Health News in the comments area below!

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The Economic Consequences of Increasing Sleep Among the Urban Poor*

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