How to Successfully take a Nap at work

15:47 (GMT+2) Wed, 11 Jan 2017

It takes real chutzpah to have a bed in your office, and to openly sleep in it during work hours.

Back in the 1990s, Bhim Suwastoyo was a busy reporter for Agence France Presse in its Jakarta bureau in Indonesia.

And he became notorious within the company for sleeping underneath a cupboard behind his desk.

"Whenever somebody from the Hong Kong head office would visit, the first thing they would ask is: 'Show me your bed,'" he tells me for BBC World Service's Business Daily programme. "Such a good reputation!"

Bhim explains that this was particularly useful at the height of the 1997 Asian currency crisis, when the Indonesian rupiah lost half its value and the Suharto government collapsed.

He was working all hours covering breaking news. Mobile phones weren't used widely in Indonesia then, so he caught naps within earshot of his office phone whenever he had a quiet moment.

But he found that even on quiet days a half-hour's catnap helped. "It gives you more energy for the rest of the day. It's like starting anew in the morning," he says

And he's not the only one. In southern Europe the afternoon nap is of course institutionalised as the siesta and it's a similar story in China.

Circadian rhythms

In Japan dozing in meetings is apparently a sign of status to show off how hard you work. Some bosses are even said to fake it in order to eavesdrop on indiscreet employees - and the employees fake indiscretions to humour them.

Your body operates according to circadian rhythms - the daily cycle of hormones that govern your body clock.

The main culprit is melatonin. When levels of this chemical are high, you doze off. But when you are exposed to sunlight, your melatonin levels drop and you perk up.

"Sleep serves as the brain's housekeeper, which helps to clear metabolic waste and toxins from the brain," explains somnolence academic Natalie Dautovich of the US National Sleep Foundation.

That is why we should all sleep a regular seven to nine hours every night.


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