Kharissa Parker is a news producer, writer, certified health coach, and columnist for Startland News. For more of her self-care tips on how to keep your cup full, visit kparker.co.
If there’s anything to be said about Millennials and Gen Z, it’s that we’re changing the entire structure of what a 9-to-5 looks like.
With a pandemic that’s largely to blame, these two generations have demanded that work doesn’t interfere with self-care. In fact, a lot of us believe self-care should be part of corporate culture.
For example, I’ve often said that instead of letting your career dictate your identity, who you are should drive what you do. Even the idea of sick days has been reevaluated because of conversations sparked by workers in their 20s and 30s. Why not call them wellness days and allow employees to use them for preventative practices like counseling, hampering burnout, or volunteering just as they would when they catch a cold?
The intersection of work and self-care also brings up the taboo topic of sleeping on the job.
Taking a power nap has its benefits
A survey conducted by Plush Beds found that 70 percent of Millennials and 80 percent of Gen Z-ers nap at work. Participants said that doing so helped them feel refreshed, improved their mood, and reduced stress. Nearly 60 percent felt that taking a nap at work catered to high levels of productivity and 55 percent of nappers reported high levels of creativity. Several studies have proven that taking a power nap improves cognition, memory, learning capabilities, and physical performance.
When and how long you should power nap
According to The Sleep Doctor, you should take a nap earlier in the afternoon, around 12:20 p.m., if you don’t get enough sleep or if the quality of your sleep could use some help. For those who don’t have issues sleeping, a power nap is more beneficial around 2 p.m. Either way, these times occur after lunch when people usually hit a wall and their energy starts to decline. With that in mind, you could make power napping part of your lunch break routine so that your body, brain, and boss are all happy.
For a more personalized approach, author Daniel Pink recommends napping seven hours after you wake up and to enjoy a cup of coffee before you doze off. He calls it the “nappuccino” and it involves drinking some brew about half an hour prior to nap time. This is because it takes caffeine 25 minutes to get into the body’s bloodstream, so you’ll be hit with a jolt of energy when you wake up. A review in The Journal of Sleep Research suggests power naps last anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes. Anything longer than 30 minutes can have adverse effects and make you feel groggy or irritated.
Where to catch some midday zzz’s
Depending on workplace culture and whether or not you have your own office, you could take a power nap right at your desk (or under it). Your car is another place to cozy up.
Just be sure you’re in a safe area, the doors are locked, and you’re not in a position where you’d accidentally cause the car to go rolling down the street or across the parking lot. If your job has a quiet conference room that’s barely used and is far enough away from co-workers, you could also get in a quick nap there.
Wherever you sleep, remember to set your alarm so you wake up and get back to work on time.
Fueled by her expertise as a news producer, writer, and certified health coach, Kharissa Parker is passionate about helping entrepreneurs in Kansas City achieve their goals without sacrificing self-care. Check out her brand, The KP Method, and connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.