NASA recently announced that a 45-minute nap in the afternoon would increase the average
workers productivity by as much as 35 percent; also business decisions were improved by as much as
50 percent. These studies were conducted to determine how to best make use of astronauts time in space,
but are just as applicable to regular office jobs.
From the Gentle Survivalist’s perspective this is another of those “It’s about time” discoveries
where common sense finally is allowed it’s due after years of being ignored in the head-long scramble
induced by greed, general ignorance, ulcers, grey hair and heart attacks. Why now? Well, the answer
lies in the keyword, “ productivity.” If labor management can just figure out how to reclaim more
productivity out of the common laborer they will embrace the new findings enthusiastically. If it only meant
a better adjusted employee they might not be so quick to acknowledge the data. However, other recent findings
indicate that the average office worker is already using his office computer to surf the Internet on personal
quests approximately one hour per day, so perhaps a little added nap will get the employee up to speed again.
The Mediterranean and Latin American "siesta" is a natural and long accepted way of life that fits the daily
human energy cycle and makes for more relaxed and more cooperative folks. When we are in Mexico we
always feel comfortable with the way things just seem to pause and catch a breath in the middle of the day.
School children go home for lunch with their families and actually have enough time to eat, help with dishes and
relax before returning to school. Employees return to their homes for a nice dinner and a relaxing nap on the
couch surrounded by loved ones. Not only does this benefit the employer in terms of a happy and refreshed
employee, but it adds to family cohesiveness. It is past time to slow down our own rushed existence.
Japan is probably the most rushed country in the world and their suicide rates testify to the insanity of
trying to squeeze the last drop of sweat out of their workers before releasing them. Nearly three times as
many people in Japan die by their own hand as die in traffic accidents., about 100 a day. With the continuing
recession, the number is expected to grow. The schools in Japan reinforce this frantic pace with long hours
that enable the parents to be absent long hours. Japanese youth are growing up with less parental affection or
influence. Although rime rates are historically low, statistics are beginning to rise in the number of moral, theft
and violent crimes reported.
So a little nap might be good for the rest of the world, something our Latin and Mediterranean friends
have known for a long, long time.
-- 2002 Laura Martin-Buhler|