Nappers aren’t idle. But they are happier, healthier and more productive. Take it from an expert ..
Napping has an image problem. Tell a stranger that you take regular naps and they’ll either start treating you contemptuously, as if you’re so repulsively lily-livered that you can’t get through a day without having to place your precious little head on a silken pillow of stardust and unicorn fluff; or they’ll just get jealous and bash you on the nose.
Napping? In the daytime? When you’re supposed to be working? It just sounds a bit namby-pamby, doesn’t it? A bit comfort-blanket. There seems to be a widespread belief that introducing napping in the workplace would be the start of a slippery slope of infantilisation that’s doomed to end with everyone wearing pastel-coloured rompersuits and slapping their porridgey hands against their dad’s iPad instead of working out the north-east division’s Q3 projections.
I’ve had enough. Because napping is amazing. I don’t just say this because I routinely treat every moment when I’m not lying down as an affront to human decency. I say it because, for once, I have science to back me up. Napping makes you more focused. It aids memory. It helps regulate blood pressure. It can ward off heart disease. Napping can transform you into the person you want to be, provided that the person you want to be is someone who doesn’t really mind spending the second half of each afternoon with a scabby wad of dried-up spittle gummed across one of their cheeks.
Japan gets it. That’s why its health ministry has introduced guidelines recommending that everyone of working age take an afternoon nap. Admittedly, there’s a chance that it deliberately wants to reduce productivity across the workforce for 20 minutes a day, so that everyone will be too groggy to fight off the wave of creepy-faced government-mandated robots introduced to take the jobs of actual flesh-and-blood humans, but it’s much more likely that it just has a proper grasp of the benefits. Simply put: the staff that naps is a happier and more effective staff.
I’ve known this for ages, because I am an expert napper. For years, just as the post-lunch slump is starting to kick in, I’ve taken myself off to bed for half an hour. And then, just like that, I’m up and at ’em again, my second wind ready to take me through the gruelling two-and-a-bit-hour stretch before I’m allowed to finish work, lie on the sofa and not move until I’m allowed to go to bed. Napping is a lifesaver. I don’t know how I’d manage without it.
However, the image problem persists. Because of society’s lunatic work ethic – where it’s preferable to half-arse your way through eight solid hours of barely adequate work than to take proper breaks and achieve the same results to a better degree in two-thirds of the time – naps are inexplicably still frowned upon in Britain.
And this is why I’ve decided introduce Nap Club. I want Nap Club to succeed where other cackhanded efforts at nap-rebranding have failed. Unlike power-napping, it won’t be the reserve of flash executives who sleep on a mattress of Filofaxes. Unlike Arianna Huffington’s book Thrive, it won’t just be for insanely rich people who realise that, now they’ve achieved all of their wildest dreams, they may as well get a bit of shuteye. No. Nap Club is for us – the nappers who don’t want to feel like they’re alone.
Obviously, for something as lazily modelled on Fight Club as this, there are rules by which members must abide. Here are those rules:
1. Naps should always be taken alone. Napping with others is inefficient. You might end up snuggling. This is not Snuggle Club.
2. Never go under the duvet. Its innate toastiness will sap productivity. “Just five more minutes,” you’ll think. Comfort is the enemy of the nap.
3. That said, never nap sitting upright. Your co-workers will film you drooping all over the place, and speed it up, and set it to I Want You Back by The Jackson 5, and post it on YouTube as a tribute to the dancing baby Groot from the end of Guardians of the Galaxy.
4. Aside from that, do not judge. Whatever it takes to nap – a milky drink, a soft toy, one of those woo-woo apps that plays a mixture of whooshy space-age noises and sinister mumbling – is OK with us.
5. Oh, and no discussing your dreams afterwards. Because that is just the bloody worst.
Nap Club members don’t need to physically meet, or to share a special handshake. A napper can always spot another napper, anyway. You can see it in their gently mussed hair, or their slightly creased shirt. You can see it because they seem just a little bit more content than everyone else.
So if you want to join Nap Club, here’s what you need to do – next time 2:30pm rolls around, go to sleep. That’s it. Obviously, if you’re performing surgery, or abseiling down a glass skyscraper in a rainstorm with a baby in your arms, we can be flexible about the time. The important thing is that you nap. If you want to, you’re in. Welcome to the club.