Naps May Boost Worker Productivity

Hour of rest during the day seemed to ease impulsiveness and frustration, researchers report

By Mary Elizabeth Dallas

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, July 2, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Taking a nap while on the job might help workers be more productive, new research suggests.

A University of Michigan study found power naps or extended breaks during the day could ease frustration, help offset impulsive behavior and increase workplace safety.

"Our results suggest that napping may be a beneficial intervention for individuals who may be required to remain awake for long periods of time by enhancing the ability to persevere through difficult or frustrating tasks," study author Jennifer Goldschmied, a doctoral student in the department of psychology, said in a university news release.

A growing number of people do not get a full night's sleep, which can take a toll on their energy level, attention span and memory, the researchers noted.

To examine how a short nap affected people's emotions, the team gave 40 people between the ages of 18 and 50 a consistent sleep schedule. For three nights, the volunteers followed this schedule before performing various tests on computers and answering questions about sleepiness, mood and impulsivity.

The researchers then randomly assigned an hour-long nap to some participants. The rest had to watch a nature video, and were not allowed to doze off. Participants were then re-tested.

Those who napped were more patient, spending more time trying to solve a problem than those who did not get an hour of rest. Those who napped also felt less impulsive, the study published online June 29 in the journal Personality and Individual Differences found.

The researchers said their findings support previous studies, which have found that sleep deprivation makes it harder for people to control negative emotional responses.