Napping on the job encouraged by research and some Austin companies


by JIM BERGAMO / KVUE News and photojournalist John Fisher and editor Rob Diaz

Bio | Email | Follow: @JimB_KVUE

Posted on November 10, 2013 at 5:55 PM

Updated Sunday, Nov 10 at 11:42 PM

AUSTIN -- Do you ever nap during the day or wish you could? If you do, you're not alone. A recent study revealed nearly 35 percent of Americans nap at least once during the day, and doctors said that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Doctors said a quick nap can be beneficial, and a 10 to 20 minute power nap is best. Apparently some Austin companies are catching on that catching a few Z's can help their employees catch up on work.

"Drop and give me 20" takes on a whole new meaning at the Capital Factory in downtown Austin. They're not working out, they're stretching out, smack dab in the middle of the work day and right in the middle of comfortable bean bag chairs and beds. Some just relaxed. Others power-napped.

"I'm definitely a napper," said Margaret Spear, the Director of Support for Own Local. "It's one of the first things I did when I started working here. It was like, 'Sweet. I get to take power naps.'"

"I'll be walking down the hallway giving a tour or bringing somebody through, and we walk by and there's somebody asleep on the bean bag chair," said Josh Baer, the Executive Director of the Capital Factory. "We just kind of like [say], 'Shush, don't wake them up,' and kind of laugh about it."

The Capital Factory brings nearly 200 different start-up companies together under one roof. They encourage all who work here to nap when needed.

"Creative people work better when they're well rested, and they can be in relaxed comfortable environment," said Baer.

Doctors said recent research has proven the value of the 10 to 20 minute power nap on the job.

"There are studies actually showing that productivity has improved after their nap time period," said Sireesha Gogineni, M.D., a pulmonologist & sleep medicine specialist who practices at the Sleep Lab at St. David's South. "They can actually remember things well and process things well, so that makes your productivity go up."

Gogineni said it all stems from our biological clock, which dips twice a day. She said most people recognize the dip that occurs about 16 hours after they wake up. That's when it's time to go back to bed for the night. However, she said the first dip occurs about 6 to 8 hours before that, usually the time many people are at work.

Those at the Capital Factory said they don't profess to know the science behind the effectiveness of power naps. They said they just know that whether it's astronaut-type recliners or bean bag beds, they're grateful their work environment encourages power napping.

"They recognize there's a value to that," said Will Roman, the Product Manager for Own Local. "Hey, you can take a 15 minute nap and get a boost in your intellectual acuity, and then you're back at work. The attitude is not, hey someone is slacking off. It's, hey, they're doing what they need to do to be healthy."


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