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Some of the Key Figures Throughout History Who Benefitted From Napping at Work

August 14th 2013

To some people this may come as a shock, but in a previous blog, I wrote about how some companies are allowing, no, in fact insisting that their employees take short naps during their working day, in order to increase their productivity in the afternoon. Studies have shown that after a short rest or “power nap” as some may call it, employees are more alert and ready to work and function better whilst performing daily tasks.

With this in mind I decided to see what others thought of this as the idea of being able to nap at work interested me. I then found a blog on “The Art of Manliness” that shows a number of key figures throughout history that felt that the importance of napping, even at work (not necessarily at their office desk) paramount to their overall performance at work. Below are a few of these essential and eminent men.

John F. Kennedy

Arguably one of the most influential US presidents, Kennedy would almost always, without fail, take a daily nap that lasted between 1-2 hours. Kennedy would wake in the morning and begin his exercise routine that consisted of swimming and running until lunchtime, where he would then retire to his bedroom and sleep for up to 2 hours. His wife Jackie would always join him and during that time there would be absolutely no phone calls, and certainly no interruptions. This then led him to work almost solidly from around 3pm to 8pm where he would argue most of his great work would take place.

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Winston Churchill

When we think about this great man in history, our first thought is of how he led the British to victory in the Second World War. Little is mentioned of his relaxed approach to leadership and even less is mentioned of just how much time he spent working at his desk and office chair.

I say this because a lot of work that Churchill did was from the comfort of his own bed. He would begin at 8am answering letters and delegating his peers until around lunchtime where he would then enjoy a long lunch with his with until retiring back to bed for a long nap that lasted for 2 hours. He would then awaken at around 6pm where he would work until the small hours of the morning.

“Nature has not intended mankind to work from eight in the morning until midnight without that refreshment of blessed oblivion which, even if it only lasts twenty minutes, is sufficient to renew all the vital forces.”

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Thomas Edison

It is hard to believe that one of the greatest inventors of all time was a “napper” but it is true, even though he would keep it secret. Thomas Edison, who held the world record for the most inventions ever created, would work for long periods of time without sleep but would partake in daily naps, up to 3 hours a day. A comment from one of his assistants to a friend and work colleague Henry Ford suggests that this Edison needed these naps in order to maintain his strong work ethic: “He doesn’t sleep very much at all, he just naps a lot.”

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