Nurses Napping on the Job?

Is napping encouraged at your workplace? I know many hospitals do not allow their employees to nap, even if on their break time. Yet there are many other companies across the world, that have researched and acknowledged the benefits of napping and encourage it, stating that it improves productivity.

Soooo in nursing ….is it a good idea or a bad idea?

Many studies have shown napping to be very beneficial depending on the length of the nap. I know I personally do not nap due to a napping phenomenon known as “sleep inertia” the sleep hangover. That in itself is the reason that I do not nap while at work. (oh and I love coffee so, taking a nap doesn’t work well when drinking coffee)

How long of a nap do we need to receive maximum benefit? Let us find out.


Looking at some of my colleagues now and remembering back to my years working midnights with young babies at home, I can almost still feel the effects of sleep deprivation. I was not getting good sleep or enough sleep to say the least. So for some nurses who need to work midnights (like I did) because it works best for their family responsibilities, it can be a real struggle.

We all know how debilitating sleep deprivation can be.   Cognitive performance deficits included reduced abilities to pay attention, think and react quickly, “multitask,” perform simple math problems, and avoid mistakes. Gees, we as nurses need to be able to do all of those things effectively! This not only puts our patients in danger, but our coworkers and ourselves. Let’s not forget, if you are having trouble staying awake during your shift, how safe are you driving home? It is not natural for your body to be awake all night.

In a later blog post we can look at night shift workers and the effects of sleep deprivation. I cringe when I hear of my coworkers falling asleep on the drive home, or pulling over on the highway for a quick nap. THAT IS NOT SAFE!!!!  Now back to NAPPING!

What are the benefits of napping?

“Naps can restore alertness, enhance performance, and reduce mistakes and accidents. A study at NASA on sleepy military pilots and astronauts found that a 40-minute nap improved performance by 34% and alertness 100%.
Naps can increase alertness in the period directly following the nap and may extend alertness a few hours later in the day.
What are some hospitals doing for their nursing staff? Lets take a look.

Nap rooms, quiet rooms, zen rooms, whatever you want to call them, all have one thing in common. These rooms are designed for resting, quiet and napping. Now mind you, some companies that are on the cutting edge of workplace napping spend between $8,000-$13,000 for each napping pod (shown below), others provide recliners, cots, hammocks and mats in a quiet environment. It can be quite an investment.

napping pods

The biggest barrier to workplace napping in hospitals other than the cost, is the long time stigma of “sleeping on the job” being seen as a negative. Many hospital policies state that, sleeping on the job whether it be on your break or in your car will constitute immediate termination.


Only when an advocate for workplace napping gets the Evidence based research to the proper administrator, manager, CNO or Hospital board, will the new trend of workplace napping change the way “sleeping on the job” is viewed and work.

Remember, never sleep at the bedside or at the nurses’ station;

it is unprofessional and unbecoming of nurses!


Thank you for reading my post.  I also want to thank my nurse friend Nicole Knight who wanted to discuss the topic of workplace napping. Hopefully it gave you some insight into the art of napping.

So have a nap or a cup of coffee (as in my case) and we will talk soon. Follow my blog:





One thought on “Nurses Napping on the Job?

  1. I totally agree with taking a nap. Especially on nights. I worked on a unit that would allow for an hour break on nights for sleep. We would break it up so only one nurse was off the unit at a time. And those nights that you felt like a walking zombie, boy did that one hour help!!


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