April 14, 2008

Is it wrong to take a nap at work?

Do you have to sneak a nap? If so, what's your strategy? If not, aren't you — we! — lucky? But shouldn't napping be legitimized? It's a natural process, as discussed in this episode of "The Brian Lehrer Show":




What if you had to pretend you never needed to urinate while at work? I bet some people would live up to the expectation to go — excuse the expression — all day without urinating.

37 comments:

George said...

“You must sleep some time between lunch and dinner, and no half-way measures. Take off your clothes and get into bed. That’s what I always do. Don’t think you will be doing less work because you sleep during the day. That’s a foolish notion held by people who have no imagination. You will be able to accomplish more. You get two days in one-well, at least one and a half, I’m sure. When the war started, I had to sleep during the day because that was the only way I could cope with my responsibilities.”

– Winston Churchill

Henry said...

Not to nap you need to drink a lot of coffee.

Not to nap AND not to urinate? That can't be possible.

Roger J. said...

Didnt George Costanza create a secret compartment in his desk? (all dilemmas such as you pose are answered in Seinfeld)

Eli Blake said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eli Blake said...

In many Latin American countries as well as in Spain, there is a tradition of a siesta which lasts for about one and a half to two hours after lunch.

The benefit of this is that it lets people nap but it also is at a pretty much uniform time, so while businesses pretty much shut down then, if you call someone outside of siesta hour then you can be pretty sure they will be at work and alert.

nansealinks said...

some idiot once told me to close my eyes and think of England. Revoulutionary WAR, huh?

www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPPXHiaiKqs

Balfegor said...

I bet some people would live up to the expectation to go — excuse the expression — all day without urinating.

Didn't Tycho Brahe die an horrible death because he kept it in all the way through a long banquet?

Beth said...

I've spent many a work lunch hour napping in my car.

SteveR said...

One of the insidious symptoms of my somewhat "mild" version of M.S. is fatique, not fatique as from a lack of sleep or life well lived, but tiredness that can't be fought through with attitude and caffiene. I can't just lay down in the wide open but I have locked myself in my office at lunch and caught a 30-45 minute nap at my desk (or gone to my car).

Nothing fancy like a Sleep Pod but it helps.

Kevin said...


Beth said...
I've spent many a work lunch hour napping in my car.


Me too! This is what I do:
Park in a deserted corner of a cool parking garage (important in the Austin heat)
Put the sunshade up for privacy
Recline the passenger seat back as far as it will go
Set my watch timer for 20 mins
Cover my eyes with a handkerchief
... and get a refreshing nap after which I will energized all afternoon.

I do this 3 - 4 times a week.

rhhardin said...

I take an afternoon nap about half the time, in my own bed. The dog regards it as a treat. Somebody to nap with!

I recommend having a dog for nappers.

I get up really early to start work, though. The nap just brings sleep up to seven hours.

Triangle Man said...

A nap when needed will improve my productivity over what I would have accomplished without it.

Also, Tycho Brahe may have been killed by Kepler .

MadisonMan said...

I find that the only time I need a nap at work is when I stay up late. So get a good night's sleep, and you won't need to nap. That's what I tell myself. This is why I routinely go to bed around 9:30 :)

MadisonMan said...

I should add, lest I be accused of laziness: I'm up at 6 every morning.

sandyshoes said...

In my desk job days, I found that giving in to that powerful midafternoon sleepiness would cost me about 20 minutes. Not giving in to it would cost me the rest of the day's productivity. So I napped because it was more efficient. Nobody looked down on it as long as billable hours were maintained -- that is, you stay late to make up the time, you don't bill the nap to a client.

AllenS said...

I worked all 3 shifts. When I was on the midnight shift, 11pm to 7am, my lunch break was at 3am to 3:30am. Sometimes, I had to put my head on the lunch table and take a nap. I was exhausted.

John K. said...

"Is it wrong to take a nap at work?"

Not if you were drinking until 3 a.m. the night before and are still kind of drunk.

Joseph Hovsep said...

"What if you had to pretend you never needed to urinate while at work? I bet some people would live up to the expectation to go — excuse the expression — all day without urinating."

That's what many people require of their pet dogs.

Windbag said...

When I was in college, I worked three jobs, totalling about eighteen hours a day, during the summer. One was wathcman at a store. It had too much outside merchandise to practically move inside nightly, so I simply had to sit and be a deterrent to would be burglars. One night, I was vaguely aware that someone was knocking on the window of my car. It was a police officer.

I've caught several employees sleeping on the job over the years. I simply rouse them and let them know that it's time to get back to work. In a way, I guess I'm paying back the mercy I received.

Please forgive the split infinitive above.

Windbag said...

"What if you had to pretend you never needed to urinate while at work? I bet some people would live up to the expectation to go — excuse the expression — all day without urinating."


Depends...they're not just for the Super Bowl anymore.

former law student said...

Management types have zero sympathy. A co-worker got fired for napping on the floor of a conference room -- the HR manager discovered him when she arrived to meet with her minions.

Beth said...

Kevin - I lived in Austin for 10 years and miss it terribly! Yes, parking garages are a must!

blake said...

I've gone entire workdays without noticing that I hadn't relieved my bladder.

And I tend to drink large quantities of water.

But then I've often thought I should've tried for the space program.

Not that I have any desire to go into space. The program looks fun.

Donna B. said...

I had a boss once who didn't mind if we took a snooze every once in while in the afternoon. She had a couch in her office for her naps, so she couldn't very well get onto us too much for laying our heads on our desks.

Unfortunately, that was her only redeeming quality. She was otherwise a horrible manager.

Rick Lee said...

One of the tremendous benefits of self-employment is the ability to take a nap whenever you damn well feel like it. Around 3 or 4 pm, if I'm not out shooting a job I'll usually grab 10 or 20 minutes. Of course, I always work till 7pm. It seems really strange to me now after all these years that most people can't do that for fear of getting fired.

Roger J. said...

American management is still stuck in the scientific management movement of the early 20th century. What a shame.

TexasPatrick said...

In almost every job I've held, it was fine for folks to take a couple smoke breaks during the day. I wanted to bring in a comic book, or heck, just a novel, open it up at my cube, and when asked what I was doing, say "Taking a smoke break, why?"

The Pathetic Earthling said...

Very simple: put your head down on the desk, and if someone walks in and finds this troubling, raise your head, cross yourself, and say "amen" before responding.

Now that turns the tables on a nosy co-worker.

Hogarth said...

Huh, and here I was thinking that office naps were the entire reason conference calls and telephone mute buttons were invented.

Slim5819 said...

Ah, you young people, talking about napping, going to the bathroom, etc.
When you get to be old, then you have nocturia to look forward to. I fall asleep instantly at 9:30 p.m. sleep for an hour, go to bathroom, fall back to sleep instandly, sleep until midnight, get up, go back to sleep instantly, get up at 1:00-1:30 p.m. and then am usually wide awake for the rest of the night. A 30-45 minute nap restores me for the rest of the day. About every 3-4 weeks I usually sleep in for about 7 hours. Surgeries,medications, etc. haven't helped so I just accept that's the way it's going to be.

Mike said...

Nothing sweeter than a nap at work. Once when I had my own office I used to do the George Constanza thing and sleep under my desk -- it was great, no one could see from my office window. I even kept a pillow under there. Mysteriously, I couldn't get enough sales to afford stay in that job!

Nowadays I'm on salary and we have a "chill" room with a couch. It can be closed off for privacy, and yes I occasionally nap. And I'm not the only one -- the only problem is finding that room unoccupied in the afternoon. In which case sometimes I'll go out to my car.

Kim said...

Going all day without urinating? Try being an ER nurse! We have the bladder capacity of a camel's hump. It's weird though, you will think "Oh, I need to go to the bathroom" and then things get busy and you realize you never went!

It's like having bladder amnesia.

ChrisLee said...

Back in the day, I got caught sleeping under my desk during an internship. The reaction wasn't postive.

Now I'm smart enough to go to my car, drive to the parkinglot of another nearby company, take my nap, and drive back. My college diploma has obviously imparted wisdom I didn't have as an undergrad.

El Duderino said...

Naps are why God invented the leather office couch and self employment. Oddly enough, it's usually the need to whiz that awakens me from afternoon slumbers. I think the Beatles even wrote a song about it on the Abbey Road album, or maybe not.

Tscottme said...

I'm a truck driver and work overnight for 9 years. The joke in the industry is work 100 hours, log 70 hours and get paid for 50 hours per week.

Keep your coffe consumption to 1 cup per day, not one thermos per day, and you will get sleepy and awake like an alarm clock.

Dennis said...

Some kind of midday nap has become crucial for sustaining energy ever since I turned the corner on middle age. Unfortunately, I work in New York City so finding somewhere to rest my eyes can be difficult.

In warmer weather, I'll try sitting in one of those makeshift pavilions that sometimes pop up in between buildings, but inevitably the smokers surround me. The smell makes napping more difficult.

The most reliable place I've been able to find, believe it or not, is the bathroom stall. It's not that hard, if you can find one of the end units up against a wall, to sort of wedge yourself at a slight angle against the inner back corner. That way, you can sort of stretch your legs out without fear of either slipping off or disturbing someone in the next stall. I put soothing music on my iPod, set my cellphone for a vibrating alarm, and that's that.

The only downside is if someone enters the stall next to you and starts squeezing the empty ketchup bottle, if you know what I mean. Nobody wants to hear (or smell) that during a moment of rest. Courtesy flushes would correct for that easily enough, but very few people seem inclined toward the courtesy flush in New York, in my experience.

blake said...

Oddly enough, it's usually the need to whiz that awakens me from afternoon slumbers. I think the Beatles even wrote a song about it on the Abbey Road album, or maybe not.

Golden slumbers fill your eyes?

Ew.