I was near ecstatic recently to learn that scientific research has proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that afternoon naps provide significant benefit to employees.
Benefits, the study shows, are greater for men than for women. I'm not certain why that would be unless it has something to do with our usually guilty consciences keeping us from getting as much sleep at night as do women.
I was just happy to learn that a short power nap in the afternoon would actually help me perform my job more efficiently. Europeans have known about this benefit for a long time. My wife and I spent two weeks in Spain once and soon learned that if we needed to buy a piece of porcelain or paintings of dogs in bullfight regalia as mementos of our holiday we'd best do it before noon or else wait until about 2 p.m., after siesta was over. Shops typically close after lunch. Banks shut down. Government offices empty out as beleaguered bureaucrats beat it home to grab a few winks before the afternoon bean counting begins anew.
They work a bit longer, past six, and then eat a late dinner, which may take two or three hours as they tend to linger longer over meals than we do in our more frenzied society. They stay up a bit later and consume a bit more wine than I would at that hour, unless I'm at a meeting and am forced to be sociable past my usual limit. Consequently, they probably need a little catch-up nap by noon the following day.
I interviewed a farmer once in the Low Country of South Carolina (That's a bit south and east of Columbia, toward the coast,) who interrupted our conversation after lunch (I always seemed to show up around meal time. Coincidence.) to take a short nap before finishing up with me and getting back to work. As I recall I spent about a half-hour nodding off in a rocking chair on his front porch.
So, the idea is not completely foreign to U.S. business. But that visit took place more than a few years back and we've sped up a bit since then. I'm not certain corporate America is ready to embrace catnaps between high-level business deals. But, from what I've seen of frazzled corporate American employees, many of them could use a little nap, as could their bosses.
As soon as I heard about the report I fired off an email to my publisher and suggested that an afternoon nap would be good company policy and that I would be a willing guinea pig to begin implementation. I am nothing if not a trendsetter, so I suggested that I'd be unavailable for conversation or other communication from about 1 until 1:30 each afternoon.
He fired back an email asking how that would be any different from my usual schedule. He also mentioned that he thought I had pretty much been asleep for the last two months anyway. He's such a kidder. He cracks me up.
Anyhow, since I have heard no more from him on the matter, I assume that he approved the plan, which I will implement immediately. Oh, look it's one-o'clock. Yawn. Just shake me if I snore.