Asleep at the wheel: why napping at work could become new norm

New research suggests that taking regular naps during the day can have a positive impact on overall brain health, so should workplaces encourage employees to sleep on the job?

Ever had a quick 40 winks while working from home? Or used a meeting room in the office to catch up on some sleep? According to new research published in Sleep Health by researchers from University College London and the University of the Republic in Uruguay, regular napping during the day is associated with increased brain volume and cognition.

While these findings are affected by levels of genetic predisposition and other physical factors, they do suggest that napping is important for overall brain health, prompting some, The Guardian has reports, to call for napping on the job to become the norm.

Asleep at the wheel

Given that poor sleep can affect focus and creativity, and that WORKTECH Academy has previously reported that a lack of sleep is associated with poor productivity, napping is now a major issue for the workplace to tackle when thinking about employee health.

Research has found that people that get fewer than six hours sleep have a 13 per cent higher mortality rate than those sleeping seven hours or more, and that poor sleep has an impact on the economy – with the USA losing 2.3 per cent of its gross domestic product, Japan 2.9 per cent, and the UK 1.9 per cent due to worker tiredness and exhaustion.

Calls to encourage employees to get more sleep might therefore be an effective tool for boosting productivity at work and have a knock-on positive impact on company finances. If napping allows workers to get some extra rest, then having sleep pods in the office or encouraging home workers to rest during the day could become policy for many employers.

Find exclusive content in the


Premium content for Global Partners, Corporate and Community Members.
The latest analysis and commentary on the future of work and workplace in five distinct themes: Research & Insights, Case Studies, Expert Interviews, Trend Publications, and Technology Guides.