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I am a summer intern at a large company. There have been a few days when I have been really tired and I would like to take a nap on my lunch break, but there are no beds, or places to go for such a thing.

I don't live anywhere close to my workplace and there is no where around where I can go to sleep.

Are there any common places where someone might go take a nap during the day?

Additional details: I bike 13 miles to work every morning, and then wok out at lunch. And then bike 13 miles back. However, I would skip a lunch workout on the days I would like to rest.

  • Did you ask around? It's much more likely that your colleagues who know the place will give you good ideas. – user8036 Feb 18 '15 at 10:45

10 Answers 10

43

Do you have a car? Heading out to your car during lunch can definitely work. (I'm an IBM intern in Beaverton, so I know that the weather is generally cooperative where you're at)

Are there nearby bus stops? I know TriMet is pretty active in your area, and if you time the right route, you can catch a bus, find a corner, and then have your alarm wake you up with the bus delivering you right back to work.

You will absolutely need an alarm. Preferably multiple ones if there's any question at all that you could miss it. And I'd say to look into taking a dose of caffeine in your preferred delivery mechanism right before your nap. It works synergistically.

And yeah. Make sure there's a clear line between work and out-of-work. Perceptions are key, especially in internships.

  • 1
    Also, if you have further questions that are area specific, feel free to contact me, since I'm in the area and treading similar ground. – David Ross Jul 24 '12 at 17:56
  • I had a funny hunch that there would be someone from around where I am also on this site. Thanks! – Sponge Bob Jul 24 '12 at 18:18
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    "Perceptions are key" - this is what made an answer stand out to me. Very thoughtful approach, no wonder that it led to an excellent advice to make sure there's a clear line between work and out-of-work. – gnat Jul 25 '12 at 8:10
  • [L]ook into taking a dose of caffeine in your preferred delivery mechanism right before your nap - Before napping, have caffeine? – Canadian Luke REINSTATE MONICA Oct 9 '13 at 22:57
  • For alarms, look for an alarm watch designed for blind people that works by vibration. Guaranteed to wake you up without making noise to those around you. – René Roth Apr 29 '14 at 11:34
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As a general rule, I would strongly recommend against taking a nap in or around work, for several reasons. First, there's the potential to sleep through the afternoon. But more importantly, it would likely send a signal to your bosses that says "I don't take this position seriously enough to prepare myself for each day by getting enough sleep the night before".

Maybe your position (or company) is different. A lot of companies now are pushing people to spend more time at work, and may provide places to take a quick power-nap so they can come back refreshed. But since you've been unable to find such a place, I wouldn't be doing this.

One last thing - as an intern, you want to be giving the best possible impression to the company, because they may hire you themselves when you graduate, or else they'll serve as a reference for any other company you apply to. I don't feel that napping will give a positive boost to that impression.

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    What alternative are you recommending here? Simply not taking a nap, and being tired and unproductive during the afternoon (possibly based on the assumption that this wouldn't affect anyone to any significant degree, because some other people are fine and everyone's the same)? Or changing one's lifestyle to not require the nap? If it's the latter, you might want to address the various factors that might be contributing to exhaustion, or at least provide a link for that - getting enough sleep is important, but there are plenty of other reasons why someone might be tired. – NotThatGuy Apr 28 at 18:25
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Nap in your car. If you nap anywhere else near work, people will think you sleep at other times of the day - on the job - and you need to be fired immediately. Your car is your space, which sets a different perception.

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    +1 HOWEVER, I highly recommend that you do not nap in the parking lot of your employer. I did this, and my boss(three tiers above me) came back from lunch and parked right next to me. His facial expression seemed to indicate that I was doing something very inappropriate, even though I wasn't sleeping on company time. – Isaac Fife Jul 24 '12 at 23:49
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    If you choose to nap in your car, be careful of areas that can accumulate carbon monoxide, like enclosed parking garages. Carbon monoxide is an odorless hazard, and if you sleep in an area where it accumulates, there is a real chance of dying. – sfstewman Jul 25 '12 at 16:10
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I just noticed your comment:

I actually bike 13 miles to work every morning, and then wok out at lunch. And then bike 13 miles back.

Is it possible that you need to change your diet due to the amount of energy you are expending? When I am riding to work regularly I need to alter my diet so that I am not crashing when my body runs out of resources.

If you are working out at lunch time (and I assume also eating food) when do you have any more personal time during your work day to have a nap?

Your work colleagues will usually come to know that you are riding and working out; usually by seeing you arriving at work on your bike or through casual conversation. The problem is, if you are sleepy people will put 2 and 2 together and think that you are using all your energy on exercise and none in the office.

As an example, my wife used to work with this guy who was busy in the evening so would go to the gym at 6am every morning before work, but he would spend the whole day yawning and leaning on his keyboard.

You may think this is not right and you should be able to exercise as much as you like, but your work expects people to come to work alert and ready.

  • Biking after lunch can cause accidents, as you may be driving in a dizzy mood. – shasi kanth Jul 25 '12 at 13:10
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    Really, biking that much and working out at lunch, if anything that should only provide him with more energy during the workday. Provided he eats right, and get his 8 hours of sleep a night. – Bjarke Freund-Hansen Feb 18 '15 at 8:53
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    Exercise doesn't PRODUCE more energy. Otherwise he should just be able to exercise non-stop continuously for 10 hours straight. Exercise results in a healthy body that can produce more energy, but exercise itself doesn't produce energy. It uses energy. – Nelson Oct 19 '15 at 1:40
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One of my old coworkers took naps under his desk. He was in a great spot for it: a corner cube facing away from the main runway, so he was pretty much invisible when sleeping even if you were looking for him (e.g. one time I went to ask him a question and thought he wasn't there, but sure enough, he was just napping invisibly under his desk).

If you want to try this, I'd recommend the following actions:
1) Get your boss's approval. Emphasize that naps increase brain power, that you will only nap off the clock, and that you'll be out of sight. Personally, I'd be ok with it if I was your boss, but many people have dogmatic stereotypes about what is and is not acceptable in the workplace, and so if you can't convince him, just forget about it.
2) Never nap on the clock.
3) Make sure you are out of sight when you're napping. This is nice to prevent questions, odd-looks, interruptions, people drawing on your face, etc. If you are blessed with a location like my old coworker, great. If not, consider curtains under your desk. Either way, if someone sees you going down for a nap, don't pretend you aren't going down for a nap or it will look like you are doing something wrong, which if you followed step 1 first, you are not.
4) Use an alarm with headphones. That way, they will wake you up, but only you will hear them and you will not disrupt others.
5) Find the right duration for a power nap or caffeine nap that works for you (probably 15-30 minutes, but no more as then sleep inertia will kick in). The most important thing is that you feel refreshed rather than groggy when you wake up.
6) Know you will be made fun of/talked about. Anything abnormal in the work place is talking material. Even with #3, people will eventually catch on to your noontime-naps. Those points combined mean you will likely be the butt of several jokes (hopefully endearing ones, but possibly malicious depending on your workplace and coworkers). Just make sure you're ok with that up front.
7) Never nap on the clock. Ever.

I think that's about it. Good luck, especially with step 1, and happy napping :)

8

I've heard of privacy rooms, and in companies with medical staff on site, the clinic area as places to go if you are truly unwell.

But if it's a "I've got some time, it's my break, a nap would be nice" sort of situation - someplace off site is best. Either car, (the bus was pretty creative!), or even a local park or something if the weather is nice. I won't say I haven't done it - particularly if something interrupted my sleep.

I won't even say I haven't been caught once or twice by a laughing coworker who said "no big deal, I've done it too! Rough night?" Just be aware that an everyday nap isn't considered normal in the US and if it's a must do every day or follows a pattern, you may have either too many late nights out or a sleeping disorder.

I'd also recommend the alarm and planning a spare 10 minutes before you have to be back to wake up, slash some water on your face and get alert. Also to check for messed up hair, other signs of nap-ti-tude.

  • +1 Napping in the park is very refreshing - the best sleep one can get IMO. Just take care to secure all your possessions. – Vorac Jul 30 '12 at 6:43
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There's a lot of good answer to the (unstated) question "Should I nap at lunchtime".

Here's 10 options that are actual answers to the question asked.

  1. The basement. Explore your building and try a few unusual doors, maybe the 'b'asement level on the elevator.

  2. The roof or the attic. There may be a way up that's not too visible.

  3. Your car - but make yourself not recognizable with maybe a pull down cap, oversize sunglasses or something - but don't be too weird looking or someone might call security.

  4. The bathroom. You might need to sneak in a pillow and even then it might be uncomfortable.

  5. The office next door. Sometimes there might be a vacant office or defunct company next door that you can utilize.

  6. The subway or train. Get headphones, sunglasses and a cap and take a ride or two. You'd be woken up eventually anyway.

  7. The gym. Maybe a local gym has a roof/basement/forgotten office you can start using.

  8. Cab Ride. Call a cab with a destination 20 mins away. When it comes tell the driver to take you there and back immediately so you can get a nap. Give him $40 to win him over.

  9. Rent an apartment really close and go home to sleep.

  10. Local park or public space or grassy knoll. Take a sheet (discretely).

Personally (now for my lecture) I'd just go for a walk, 5 mins. per hour. All of the above are fraught with more risk than being worth it.

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    I would just put an asterisk next to points 1, 2, 4, & 5 just to check first that there are no rules specifically prohibiting this, especially if no one reads to your final sentence! – jcmeloni Jul 25 '12 at 17:54
  • Just curious. Where in the bathroom can you nap? – Tim Jan 14 '17 at 8:14
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The office sickbay.

A decently sized office will have a sickbay with a bed.

Ask to use it and nap there. It's otherwise hardly ever in use.

As others have suggested, napping might not be acceptable in your company's culture, but I think it depends from company to company - your company might be fine with it. The research shows that afternoon naps can be good for your cognitive ability.

My opinion is that the fear of being perceived as lazy or unproductive is overstated. If you are clearly contributing value to your company, then that's hard to argue with, regardless of your napping habits. The key is to make apparent your contributions to the company.

0

What might be more helpful than sleeping would be using your lunch break to get a quick workout. I always feel drowsy sitting at a desk all day, but as soon as I hit the gym after work, I'm awake, alert and ready to finish my day.

It's kind of like laying around all day and then going to sleep. You generally wake up groggy the next morning because you haven't really gotten the blood flowing. I would recommend doing some kind of physical activity over lunch to get your heart rate up. Maybe some guys would be interested in a game of pickup basketball, or you could go for a quick run. Obviously, if the office doesn't have showers, you might have to do something less strenuous (bodyweight squats? pushups).

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    I actually bike 13 miles to work every morning, and then wok out at lunch. And then bike 13 miles back. – Sponge Bob Jul 24 '12 at 23:47
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I used to sleep in the bathroom stall at work for a power nap. Go to the end stall in a bathroom the farthest from your work area. Take about a half a roll of toilet paper and fashion a pillow for your head. A sweater can also be used for a mock pillow. When you wake, be careful to massage your calves to restore blood flow. I once got pins and needles so bad I almost fell walking out of the bathroom. The longest I ever slept was 3 hrs at Hamilton Standard in Windsor Locks, CT. The company library was also a good place to take a nap at Hamilton. They had nice desks with top cabinets that you could sit and lean your head on. Just writing this is making me want to take a nice nap. Happy snoozing!

  • Maybe it's just me. I don't think I can sleep in the bathroom. But, it's just me. Happy snoozing! – scaaahu Oct 19 '15 at 3:04

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