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Four Afternoon Snacks to Keep You Awake

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Real-world tricks to squeeze in some shut-eye on the job and boost your productivity

Daytime drowsiness can affect concentration, accuracy, mood, productivity, and creativity. Sleep-deprived workers are also at greater risk for health issues, such as hypertension, diabetes, and depression. When it comes to boosting your productivity, sleeping on the job may not be such a bad thing after all: A brief nap may provide greater alertness for several hours. Try these tips to sneak in naptime at work.

Take It Early. For most of us, our inner body clocks start to make us feel drowsy around siesta time—usually somewhere between 2:00pm and 3:00pm. Aim to fit in a cat nap during these hours, so it doesn’t interfere with your ability to fall asleep at bedtime.

Keep It Short. A little snooze of about 20 minutes is likely the easiest to take at work, since it fits into a lunch break. And since you never fall into a deep stage of sleep, you won’t wake up feeling groggy. This “power nap” can even boost your on-the-job performance by as much as 34%. Be sure to set an alarm on your cell phone or computer so you don’t sleep for too long.

Find the Right Location. A space that’s relatively quiet and private will help you relax. Perhaps you can nap in your office—you could close the door and hang a sign that reads “back in 20 minutes.” Or you could nap in your car or on an outdoor bench. Some companies these days are even providing nap areas in the office.

Use a Prop. Doze off faster by bringing something subtle to work that you associate with sleep and can use during your nap (think: slipping on cozy socks underneath your desk, listening a soothing soundtrack with headphones, or dabbing lavender oil on your pulse points). If your office has a door, or if you can get out of your cubicle to nap, say, in your car, you might try having a fuzzy blanket, a neck pillow and an eye mask on hand to help lull you into dreamland faster.