Napping at Work in China


Have you ever come back to the office after a good lunch break eating a delicious meal, and just want to nap?! I’m guessing many of you resort to drinking lots of coffee in order to combat this right? Unfortunately the business culture in the UK does not quite permit the act of napping at work, since working around the clock is often equated with being hardworking and productively effective and napping with laziness. Plus no one wants to lose their job for taking an impermissible nap okay! 

Well for someone like me who absolutely loves taking a midday nap, especially on days when I eat heavy and rich Nigerian meals for lunch, taking a nap is essential for re-energising me and refocusing my mind for the rest of the day. 

So you can imagine my shock and pleasant surprise when on my first day at work here in China, after coming back from lunch with my colleagues, the lights suddenly went off and everyone had the heads rested in their arms napping off! 

Oh it was so amusing because I was so confused and looked intently at my neighbouring colleague’s face to assure myself that these people were indeed taking a nap! Well, that day I was not feeling tired and of course such a routine was foreign to me in the workplace. But be sure to know that the day after I happily followed the “When in Rome do as the Romans do” notion and now frequently have an awesome after-lunch 20 minute nap.

Napping cultural habits

In many Asian homes and companies, taking a nap is quite a necessity. In Japan it is known as inemuri which means “sleeping while present”. Interestingly napping in Japan gives one higher status as they are regarded by others as committed to their job. In China napping is also a common sight everywhere, especially for tech and factory workers. This is because according to traditional Chinese medicine, napping helps to maintain the body’s harmonium and restore balance of the body’s ying and yang. Besides Asian cultures, Mediterranean and Latin cultures also have a long age tradition of taking a siestawhich is essentially a midday break.

Changes in the workplace

Many companies around the world are becoming more progressive and are seeing the importance of adopting  a routine where their employees can take a nap. This not only helps to increase productivity in the workplace but also allows for a relatively healthier lifestyle. Such companies include Huffington Post, Google, Nike and Facebook. However it seems that in comparison to the USA, the UK are falling behind on this trend, though companies such as the London’s Olympic Village and GlaxoSmithKline have also jumped on the bandwagon.  

In order to make you make use of the opportunity to nap at work, follow these guidelines as stated by the BBC:

  • Be sure to get permission from your manager first!
  • Limit your naps to 20 minutes with a 10 minute recovery
  • Take a nap between the post-lunch hours of 2-4pm
  • Recline back on your chair for the most pleasant sleep
  • Make sure to be situated in a setting that is quite and relatively dark

So with the increasing trend for companies and organisations allowing their staff to take a nap at work, are you for or against this? Would you love to be able to take a nap at work? I would love to hear what you think. 

See you soon!

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