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WEDNESDAY, JUNE 28, 2006
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EDITORIAL

Taking a nap at work may be latest sign of diligence

The famously workaholic Japanese are embracing the afternoon nap in schools and businesses.

Meizen High School in Fukuoka is encouraging students to take 15-minute naps in classrooms after lunch, The Washington Post reports. Test scores have gone up, and fewer students are falling asleep during class.

Some companies are promoting employee napping in the office. "When we see people napping during lunchtime, we think, 'They are getting ready to put 100 percent in during the afternoon,' " said Toyota spokesman Paul Nolasco.

"Nap salons" in major cities let workers sleep on beds at midday for the equivalent of a few dollars, sometimes covered by health insurance.

Japan used to be hostile to midday sleeping, seeing it as laziness and a distraction from work. In 2003, a conductor fell asleep at the controls of a bullet train, whose automatic controls prevented an accident.

Now more people look at naps as a way to renew mental alertness so that they can work into the evening. Researchers advise making the nap short — a half-hour or less — so that you wake up feeling refreshed, not groggy.

Sometimes after a meal, your body tells you that you need to lie down. It's becoming respectable to give in to that urge.

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