Sleep at Work: The One KPI No One Talks About

In an ever-changing and dynamic work environment, Sleep at work has become an increasingly contentious topic. The impression has always been that Napping during work hours is seen as an on-the-job idling rather than a means for career-thriving. Over the years, researchers and sleep experts have come to realize that sleep is fundamental to every aspect of our lives, including our work performance regardless of the professional endeavor.

Today, this new norm is often accentuated and consolidated by the fact that we live in what is largely a knowledge economy in which an employee’s value is based on their outputs, not their inputs. This means their performance is often more about ultimate results and less about the hours clocked.

In the knowledge-driven and result-oriented economy we want employees to be alert, not just active; engaged, not just present. We want them to be focused on producing the highest quality outputs possible.

While this new norm is yet to get the appropriate legal backing and legislation, more and more companies have recognized that workday napping may be the competitive edge they’ve been looking for all this while. From Google to Ben & Jerry’s, pro-nap companies have invested in nap rooms and futuristic-looking sleep pods to promote snoozing at work. It’s all done in the name of better employee well-being that may ultimately translate to a better bottom line.

Scientifically, Sleeping on the job can make this happen:

Improves Your Mood

Thankfully, a 30-minute nap during your afternoon dip elevates joy, relaxation, and mental refreshment. Not only will you be in a stronger position to combat work blues, but you’ll also be in a better mood when you clock out for quality time with your loved ones.

Boosts Your Creative Thinking

From graphic designers to office managers, many jobs rely on brainstorming and problem-solving. At times when your creative juices dry up, get some shut-eye to rekindle the spark of inspiration. Science shows that a 60-minute nap comprising time spent in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep can potentially boost your creative thinking by as much as 40%.

Enhances Your Productivity

Meeting your sleep need means you’re already in a good position to put your best self forward at work. But if you need a little extra push to check off the items on your to-do list (and still have the energy to rustle up a home-cooked dinner for your family later), a well-timed midday nap can do wonders for your productivity level. Science shows that napping enhances vigor, vigilance, and accuracy. On top of that, it reduces confusion, subjective tiredness, and lapses in reaction time

 Upgrades Your Memory Skills

Before downing fish oil supplements to boost your ability to learn, think, and recall, sleep is the most effective weapon to sharpen your brain’s memory function. At work, this can take the form of a power nap (roughly 10 to 20 minutes) to reactivate memory neurons that went offline when you became worn out from your job’s demands.

Enhances Your EQ (Emotional Intelligence)

A 4.0-grade point average may help you get the job at a prestigious company. What actually helps you excel in the position, though, is likely your EQ (emotional intelligence). Your ability to read the room or laugh at your client’s bad joke may be what sets you apart from the crowd.

Yet, when you’re bone-weary tired, it’s harder to emulate inspirational leadership or show off your charismatic personality. That’s where napping can help as it takes the edge off fatigue to recharge your battery. Post-snooze, you may find it easier to turn on the charm, so to speak.


There is a strong business case for this. Naps as short as 10 to 30 minutes can increase alertness, reduce fatigue and improve performance. Not only that, but recent research suggests that napping may be as effective as drugs at reducing blood pressure, so organizations that implement napping policies may save on healthcare costs. The idea that employees should not be allowed to sleep on the job is an outdated taboo from a bygone era. It is a holdover from the days when an employee’s value depended solely on his or her manual inputs.

In the modern economy, however, your value as an employee, manager, or executive often rests on your ability to produce desirable outputs. Progressive organizations recognize that fatigued employees can’t perform at their best. In essence, a tired employee is stealing performance from their employer.


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