Rebecca Wong, Journalism student, UNSW, Sydney

Posted by on Nov 11, 2015 in Power Nap Register |

As a journalism student at the University of New South Wales, I’d been getting 5 hours sleep if I was lucky. Maybe it was the poor diet, the lack of exercise or the compulsive need to check my phone every five minutes, but I simply couldn’t get to sleep. The impact of not enough sleep was devastating. It made me want to crawl out of my skin. Late last year I was inspired by a NapNow blog calling for designated nap spaces at universities. It made me realise the power of sleep to restore the body and mind. These days, I’ve learnt to nap after lunch at uni. You’ll find me napping on Level 2 of the UNSW Quad, where there’s a quiet spot with the most comfy sofa. Needless to say, I always feel refreshed and focused after napping. Once my mind has cleared, it’s so much easier to study without a cloud of sleepiness hanging over me. Interestingly my night-time sleep has seen a major improvement since I started napping, and I can now prioritise sleep over checking my phone! Rebecca has since started her own sleep blog Choose to Snooze, that targets sleep deprived University Students.  ...

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Betsy Faen, Counsellor, Sydney

Posted by on Jul 14, 2015 in Power Nap Register |

Napping has only become a regular part of my life in the last few years since coming across NapNow. Prior to that I had been afraid to nap, because I have always had trouble sleeping at night, and I didn’t want to do anything that might jeopardize that. As well, I have never been that great at relaxing, and my childhood conditioning certainly didn’t encourage taking time out to do ‘nothing’. I used to get very tired after lunch and would try to fight it with a cup of tea or sugar. I think I had an earlier experience of napping that left me feeling groggy afterward because I slept too long, so that put me off too. Then I learnt through NapNow, the importance of keeping daytime naps short, so thought I would give it a try. I experimented with it and now it’s part of my routine. I lie down for 30 minutes as often as I can after lunch, daily if possible. If I can’t, I find I miss it now! I fall asleep about half the time, and when I do feel proud of myself! I come out feeling much better and refreshed and it doesn’t affect my sleep at night. Even if I don’t fall asleep, it’s a time for me to relax. It’s been a big change for me. I am still getting comfortable ‘coming out’ as a napper, but definitely encourage other people with insomnia to give it a go.   You can read more about Napping and Insomnia...

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Use ‘Graded Assertiveness’ to ask for a break

Posted by on Jul 13, 2015 in Blog |

How can workers learn to speak up about the importance of taking breaks to mitigate tiredness?  Graded Assertiveness offers one approach.  NapNow asks health services improvement coach Jane Stanfield,  how we can apply it in the office.   Imagine you’ve been working on an important project with your manager or boss for about three hours straight.  You now feel drained and unable to focus, and feel the need to take a short break. Would you feel confident to speak ‘up’ the authority gradient, and ask this of your boss? (The authority gradient is the difference in power and status between a senior and more junior professional.) At a very limbic (survival) level, this kind of assertiveness might feel career limiting.  But left unchallenged, authority gradients can kill people, according to Jane Stanfield, Health Services Improvement Coach who runs workshops in Communication and Patient Safety for Queensland Health. “We’ve seen cases of terrible accidents in aviation and health care, when junior staff feel they can’t speak up to senior staff to alert them to a potential error,” says Stanfield. While it’s obvious that poor judgement for pilots or doctors can put people’s lives at risk, decision making in other professions can be just as critical. Lawyers and accountants, for example, make daily decisions that affect the wellbeing of their clients and tiredness or fatigue is one factor that can interfere with sound judgement. So exactly how could you go about alerting your boss to the need for you both to take an energy or brain break?  It’s not common office talk, nor is it something you get taught in your MBA. But it’s essential for productivity and safety, in any professional role. ‘Graded Assertiveness’ is one communication tool that you could draw upon. It was developed in the aviation industry and is now taught in some medical settings.  The ‘PACE’ model, which is endorsed by the Royal College of Anaesthetics in Australia and New Zealand, offers a graded call to attention, summarised by the acronym PACE: Probe, Alert, Challenge, Emergency.  You only proceed to a higher level if your concern is unheeded and client safety is at risk. Jane offers some examples of how it could be applied to minimise the risks of white-collar fatigue. Probe: Express an observation, or concern, or that you are unclear about something. I am starting to feel a bit tired here …  and I think my efficiency is reducing/ my brain feels a bit overloaded.  How are you feeling?   Alert:  Not satisfied with the response, but not yet confronting either.  Try suggesting an alternative approach. I am wondering if I/we could take a break for 15 minutes, and come back to this with...

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Nigel Hobbs, CEO Welnis Labs, Sydney

Posted by on Apr 8, 2015 in Power Nap Register |

Nigel is a CEO who sleeps on the job and encourages his staff to do so as well. NapNow explores the basis of his personal and professional pro-napping attitude. NapNow: What’s your personal experience of napping? Nigel: I first discovered the power nap about five years ago when I read about the trend starting with tech companies in the US. I started napping in the car, normally in the afternoon between 3 and 4pm or whenever I felt that dip in energy and productivity. I try and nap every day unless I get caught up with clients or in a meeting. You get addicted to the improvements in so many areas of your working and personal life. After a nap I feel much more focused and energised and I get through a lot more at work in much less time. In my personal life it has definitely reduced stress and I don’t get that burnt out feeling.  NapNow:Why, as a CEO, have you invested in a nap pod for your staff? Nigel: We decided that to really gain the benefits of the workplace power nap  we needed to have a designated space that was just for napping. We had a nap pod installed, but a room with an area to lie down or even recline such as a hammock or lounger works just as well. I would really recommend having a booking system as then your employees know they won’t be interrupted and they feel that this is their allocated time slot.   NapNow: What’s the best way to encourage your staff to nap during a working day? Nigel: The most important thing  an organisation  can do to encourage napping, is to make it very much part of the company culture. Not just accepted – but encouraged. If someone is looking tired we remind them about taking a nap. We also remind employees that a 20 minute nap, even if they are flat out busy, actually creates additional time through productivity gains. A 10 to 20 minute nap has been shown to have productivity improvements of up to 30% for around 2 hours so the benefits in completing tasks during the day is significant. It is vital to know that the company sees napping as a key driver of improved productivity as well as wellbeing and that everyone in the organisation has positive gains from napping.   Welnis is an interior wellness consultancy, focussing on creating built environments that benefit the environment as well as human...

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Breaking Up Your Day is Key to Success

Posted by on Apr 8, 2015 in Blog |

Whether aiming to excel at work or simply survive, breaks are essential, writes NapNow Founder Thea O’Connor Brahams, Napolean and Churchill had one thing in common – they all had a habit of napping. These famous high achievers demonstrated that the secret to success isn’t just about whether you can go long and hard, but also whether you can let up. Today we know that strategically timed pauses, from annual holidays through to micro-breaks, can be life giving: reducing injuries and errors, improving mood and concentration, alleviating stress and fatigue while putting some bounce back into your days.   “Think of breaks as the space between the notes in a song; without these rests, the song becomes a screech or a wail.” David Kundtz   How to break up your day Micro-breaks Brief rest periods (eg 30 seconds every 10 minutes) reduce the risks of muscle fatigue and injury during intensive computer work. They also cut keyboard error rates by up to 59%, according to research conducted at Cornell University. Making a phone call in between computer work counts as a micro-break as it allows the muscles involved in typing and mouse use, to have a rest.  Movement-breaks If there’s one thing the body’s designed to do, it’s to move. So, get off your bottom and onto your feet about once every half hour.  Breaking up sitting time every 20 minutes with just two minutes of light activity such as a stroll around the office, improves glucose metabolism by up to 30% and so can reduce the risk of a number of chronic diseases, according to research conducted by David Dunstan of the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute.  Or, if you’re on your feet all day, do some stretches. It’s the best protection from the joint strain and muscle fatigue that results from holding one posture for long periods. Morning and Afternoon Tea Breaks Remember them? They are perfectly timed to give you a break every 2 hours, when your concentration is likely to start drifting. Many workers are entitled to a 10 minute break every four hours – so use the time to re-energise, and not just with more caffeine. Try a short walk outside instead.  Read here how you can turn your coffee break into an energy break.  Eye Breaks Like any other muscle your eyes need a break to reduce strain, especially if your work requires lots of close-up focus. Close your eyes for one to two minutes, placing the palms of your hands over your eyes for extra darkness. Take another break by looking out into the distance and changing focus between near and far several times.  Nap Break A nap as brief as ten minutes...

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