When you feel like you're about to doze off at your desk, don't feel ashamed – your boss should be actively encouraging you to take naps at work if they want to get the best out of you.
By looking at the effects of middle-of-the-day sleeping on work performance, researchers at the University of Michigan found that it boosted overall productivity.
They randomly assigned an hour-long afternoon nap to half of 40 volunteers, and then compared their resulting work performance with that of the volunteers who stayed awake.
Overall, those who had just awoken from sleep exercised better self-control and tolerance of frustrating situations, and were more likely to complete work given to them. The results are published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.
Jennifer Goldschmied, the study's lead author, said allowing employees to nap in the middle of the day would be particularly beneficial for businesses were hours are long and tasks are complicated, such as in the City:
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.
So how should offices adapt to make the most of the wonders sleep can bring to performance? Goldschmied and her team suggest employers should install nap pods, and give extended break times when needed.