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To Sleep, Perchance to Scheme

Bob Goldman on

It doesn't happen frequently, but every once in a while, science throws us a bone.

Like the recently published studies proving that nonfat cottage cheese causes delirium tremors in the pigmy seahorse. (These studies have yet to be replicated with human subjects, but if you want to be part of an experiment, I can hook you up. No pay, but you'll get a sweet 10 percent discount on cottage cheese.)

If you're waiting for the white lab coat cats to confirm your belief that chocolate chip cookies will cure pretty anything life can throw at us, think again. Most science-types would rather play around with sea horses than do a study that would actually help people and win the Nobel Prize in medicine for the Keebler Elves.

But that is changing.

Recent research has resulted in a scientific breakthrough far more important than the discoveries of Galileo, Einstein, and John I.Q. Nerdelbaum Frink Jr.

According to scientists, you will be healthy, happier and more productive if you start taking naps at work. Or, in your case, start taking even more naps at work.

That's right! When managers and co-workers give you grief for crawling under your desk and curling up with your blankey, you can blind them with science.

The Washington Post broke the story.

"Napping on the job may turn out to be a very good idea for a sleep-deprived nation" is the title of a recent article by Eric Pianin.

Clearly a neophyte napper himself, Pianin is quick to point out that "powerful leaders and warriors such a Napoleon and Winston Churchill routinely napped in the afternoon, regardless of the crises swirling around them."

For experienced nappers like thee and me, this approach simply reeks of defensiveness. Those guys had it easy. Napoleon never had to turn in an expense account. Churchill never had to call the IT department. Of course, they could nap.

But now the classic "Napoleon did it" defense can be augmented with science. As Pianin puts it, researchers are finding that naps "are essential to public health, public safety and economic productivity."

 

The public health and safety parts, I'm not so sure about, but your endless naps definitely spur productivity. The less work you do, the less you screw up. This is why productivity in your company would soar if you were only allowed to spend the entire workday napping.

And there's more. An "international team of neurologists" recently published a study showing that not supplementing your sleep diet with regular naps can result in "temporary mental lapses that impair and distort visual perceptions."

In other words, everything you experience chugging expensive artisan cocktails at The Kit Kat Klub can be achieved for much less by simply stay awake.

Yet another scientist, Itzhak Fried, lobbies for naps because "starving the body of sleep robs neurons of the ability to function properly." This is definitely a situation you want to avoid. The few neurons left in your brain are already requesting a transfer to your spleen. There's not much glamour in being a spleen neuron, but it's a lot less lonely.

Our final napologist, Phillip M Alapat, points out that naps counteract the "toxins that essentially accumulate in the brain." You may have mixed feelings about this. Think of all the time and effort you have spent to get those toxins in there.

Unfortunately, Alapat is not 100 percent on the side of the napping elite. He has the nerve to recommend that "naps last no longer than 30 minutes." This heretical and outlandish opinion is based on avoiding the deepest stage of a nap, known as rapid eye-movement sleep, or REM. "Once a person reaches that dreamy state," the professor professes, "it becomes much more difficult to wake up clearheaded, refreshed and fully functioning."

Talk about the ivory tower. Doesn't Professor Alapat understand that he's just described the ultimate goal of the perfect nap? When you leave for the day, you want to be clearheaded, refreshed and fully functioning. When you're stuck at work, that "dreamy state" is the only way to survive.

Apparently, some companies are promoting napping on the job. Google, Uber and HuffPost have heard the news and "installed napping spaces for their workers." Is this a dream come true? Not hardly. The real pleasure of sneaking off for a workday nap is the sneaking off part. Illicit napping is much more satisfying.

Hey, if you have to work at a job with corporate-approved napping, you might as well stay awake.

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Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company, but he finally wised up and opened Bob Goldman Financial Planning in Sausalito, California. He now works out of Bellingham, Washington. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at bob@bgplanning.com. To find out more about Bob Goldman, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

 

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