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Sleeping on the job

  • 11th Apr, 2006 at 5:59 PM

When I was in university, I didn't get very much rest at all. There would be weeks where I'd get by on two or three hours a night. This was pretty bad for cognition, and as I got more sleep-deprived, I'd get stupider and stupider. Of course, things would pile up near the end of the school term and I would just stop sleeping completely. I have no idea how I managed to pass my finals after all this dumbening.

At the end of each school term, after all my examinations were over, I'd sleep for thirty or forty hours straight. Then I would wake up and be just stunned at how intelligent I was. This is not because I'm a genius, but because I previously had the I.Q. of broccoli.

Once I was riding my bicycle to school, as I had to go to class. As I was cycling up campus, my body decided that this was too much consciousness and that it'd had enough. I woke up a little while later, sprawled on the grass, with a bicycle on top of me. I recall feeling strangely peaceful and well-rested. Until I became aware of the road-rash.

Now that I'm no longer at school, I don't do this anymore. I'm a much happier and pleasant person when I'm not fighting unconsciousness with every blink of the eye. It's also a lot safer now that I don't spontaneously fall asleep. But I still get pretty sleepy just after lunch, and I'd be pretty unproductive for the rest of the afternoon. At first, I thought this was just from eating something heavy, but even if I skip lunch, I would still get tired. So then, I decided to do something totally crazy.

I go to sleep when I'm tired. In the early afternoon, when my eyelids droop, I just walk over to the couch, curl up, and pass out. About half an hour later, I wake up again automatically. You won't believe how good that feels. Plus, I'm really awake so I get up and do some more work.

You should try it! If you can't take afternoon naps on weekdays, at least give it a shot on the weekends.


Comments

( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
kdollarsign
11th Apr, 2006 22:08 (UTC)
i totally mourn the lack of the siesta in america's workaholic culture. I too have taken a stand against tiredness by forcing myself to rest my eyes or lying down WHENEVER I feel tired. If I don't get stuck in an odd lazy early evening sleep zone, I usually only need about ten minutes of rest.
sfllaw
12th Apr, 2006 19:22 (UTC)
Well, we shall just have to encourage people to take midday naps.
smurfmatic
11th Apr, 2006 22:23 (UTC)
Indeed, I've read stuff about the advantages of the afternoon nap towards productivity. If only bosses can acknowledge that (ie, take a nap themselves! ;D).

There was also a recent study that came up in the francophone press (I guess it was also common sense) that "presenteism" was a bigger strain on productivity than absenteeism. Although, so far, I've been "lucky" working as a sort of academic free-lance, I'm not sure how well received the idea would be to work at one's favourite time of the day, or do things such as show up at work at 1PM and then catch up by leaving at 9PM-ish...
sfllaw
12th Apr, 2006 19:23 (UTC)
It really depends on what field you're in. Some offer flexible hours. And others have shift work where you start in the afternoon.
(Deleted comment)
sfllaw
12th Apr, 2006 19:24 (UTC)
I try to get at least eight hours as well. But I can't seem to sustain 16 continuous hours of alertness, so the nap lets me be useful in the afternoons and evenings.
cranfatuation
11th Apr, 2006 23:32 (UTC)
But if I take an afternoon nap at work, I miss chocolate time!

I like chocolate time. It keeps my coworkers from killing each other.
sfllaw
12th Apr, 2006 19:24 (UTC)
Can't you have both chocolate time and naptime?
akashayi
12th Apr, 2006 22:18 (UTC)
you get a chocolate time?
cranfatuation
12th Apr, 2006 22:52 (UTC)
Don't all companies have chocolate time?

Almost every afternoon, we (the engineers) break open a chocolate bar and partake of it's communal chocolatiness. It causes happy.
inkster
11th Apr, 2006 23:58 (UTC)
I definitely think employers should introduce the Power Nap in the work day. People would be so much more productive.

I used to take a nap every day for 20 minutes or so and it's amazing what an energy boost it gives you.
sfllaw
12th Apr, 2006 19:25 (UTC)
Agreed!

However, many employers seem to think that free coffee is good enough. I frown on this sanctioned drug abuse.

:(
inkster
12th Apr, 2006 21:26 (UTC)
I could drink free coffee and tea. It's all decaffeinated, so no drug abuse.

Too bad I never have time to pee, so I wouldn't want to put that kind of pressure on my bladder ;)
(Deleted comment)
sfllaw
12th Apr, 2006 19:25 (UTC)
Napping is good for you!

And you keep on nagging me to get enough sleep, Miss Pot.
(Deleted comment)
sfllaw
12th Apr, 2006 19:26 (UTC)
Tell me how it works out.
evildrgo
12th Apr, 2006 02:46 (UTC)
yes... Giving up a home office meant giving up my afternoon naps...

urg...
sfllaw
13th Apr, 2006 03:01 (UTC)
Get a couch in your office!
evildrgo
13th Apr, 2006 03:26 (UTC)
I'm not due for an office until October.
holdenk
12th Apr, 2006 04:03 (UTC)
Sleeping is awesome. When I'm at school I definitetly don't get enough, but thats life :-)
The one time I actually felt tired enough to go home from work in the afternoon, have a nap and come back it was awesome.
ringzero
12th Apr, 2006 12:46 (UTC)
Pff, sleep at your desk, bum. ;)
holdenk
12th Apr, 2006 13:38 (UTC)
The other Co-Op that was found sleeping at there desk got in to a bit of difficulty over it, so probably not such a good idea for this work term. But in the future :-)
sfllaw
12th Apr, 2006 19:28 (UTC)
Yes. But sleeping at your desk isn't very good for your back.

I think if I were him, I would do something different. I'd get in super early and leave super late. Plus, I'd have had one of those cardboard "Out to Lunch" clocks on my chair, set to 13:00, and sleep under my desk with pillows and blankets.

That way, it looks like I'm doing this on purpose, and I haven't just passed out.
auzure_skies
12th Apr, 2006 16:35 (UTC)
I've been napping for the last four years (er - most afternoons thereof) - I get my nap 4 or 5 days a week, due to pulling split-shifts. Love 'em!
sfllaw
12th Apr, 2006 19:28 (UTC)
:)
akashayi
13th Apr, 2006 19:46 (UTC)
Unfortunately, Dojo life doesn't support napping.

I should get in as much as I can while I'm a dojo-less ronin!

Sounds a bit backwards. 'Lazy' = Smarter.
sfllaw
13th Apr, 2006 19:52 (UTC)
It's resting when you're tired, so that you don't stay tired. That sounds pretty smart to me.
akashayi
13th Apr, 2006 19:54 (UTC)
Don't get me wrong, it's clearly very logical, but...

just sounded funny... maybe I'm in need of a nap. :\
( 27 comments — Leave a comment )