In our reflections on the nature of the workplace, we often have mixed ideas. Let’s continue to set the record straight and first identify what the workplace is NOT!
This week, let’s talk about something that is the opposite of a widespread phenomenon.
- IT’S NOT A PLACE TO REST.
It’s no secret that employees take quick naps at work. It can happen during lunch break, or at any other time for that matter. It might be at one’s desk, at the cafeteria or even in a closed restroom stall. Yikes!
In many workplaces that are exposed to many different types of hazards, this can be very dangerous. Slight lapses in alertness can give way to equipment malfunction, environmental emergencies, and even crimes. This riskiness is, in itself, a compelling reason to stop sleeping at work.
The most immediate danger of sleeping in the workplace, however, is getting caught while doing it. Let’s assume that the policy on sleeping is not strictly applied during lunchtime. However, any other time of the day is supposed to be off limits when it comes to catching up on some sleep. All of our sleeping should’ve been done at home, during our proper rest period. This is expected of us, no matter where we go as professionals.
But since it’s so prevalent, there is value in discussing the roots of the problem. What could be the causes of sleeping at the workplace, and how can they be addressed?
Lack of sleep is the simplest explanation, one that has a lot of other underlying reasons. People don’t get enough sleep because of medical conditions such as insomnia or posture-related injuries, anxiety over personal and other problems, improper use of time (like working overtime, having to bring home some unfinished work assignments or completing some personal chores late into the evening), and unhealthy recreational habits like staying up to watch movies or play games.
Among these, following the doctor’s original advice and consulting them about any sleeping difficulties can help mitigate lack of sleep due to medical reasons. The same principle of consulting a professional also works for anxiety-related sleep issues, while proper use of time is the best solution to avoid extended work hours or unfinished personal business. Then, self-control and discipline can surely help regulate late-night habits that deprive us of sleep. We have to cultivate the mentality that our leisure is dependent on the time that we have, not the other way around.
Other reasons for sleeping in the office can also be medical issues, but not related to lack of sleep. Things like narcolepsy (uncontrollable drowsiness and sleep), as well as having illnesses that are treated by drowsiness-causing medication, can be considered factors of sleeping at the office. These factors cannot be mitigated through proper use of time because they are somewhat unpredictable, but seeking and following medical advice can at least help mitigate narcolepsy and the effects of sleep-inducing medication if only during working hours.
On a side note, coffee and other natural sleep retardants can be valuable allies against sleepiness at work. Coffee, as well as most of these other natural products, works best when taken before a short power nap. This is the most effective way to take advantage of lunch breaks, as long as we’ve taken our lunch and have been allowed to use the remaining time to sleep. The coffee or other drink will take some time to be absorbed by our body and take effect, which can happen while we’re asleep. After waking up, therefore, the coffee will be in full effect and we will be somewhat rested because of the short nap. There are limits to this technique, though, and it should not be done on a daily basis due to possible effects on health. The best solution for drowsiness is still getting enough sleep at home.
With all this advice, getting enough sleep in the right places – and not at work – should be quite achievable.