napIn a 24/7 culture, many people lose sleep, which hurts lots of careers. Mental fatigue can affect your concentration, memory, creativity and productivity.

Several studies support the idea that napping can improve your job performance. A short midday nap can make all the difference between a slow, lethargic work day and a smart, sharp performance. Here are 5 ways taking naps can boost your career.

1. Naps Boost Your Alertness

Do you have trouble concentrating on your projects? Doing your best work requires mental clarity and focus. A short midday nap can give you a boost of energy and alertness.

In one international study, shift workers improved their job performance after a 20-minute nap. A NASA study found that 40 minutes of shut-eye made pilots more alert. According to other research, just 10 minutes of sleep can boost your concentration.

2. Naps Enhance Your Memory

Your cognitive abilities and memory skills are linked to rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. This requires a longer nap — from 60 to 90 minutes — if you can fit one into your schedule. Dozing for this length of time is difficult in an office, but people who work from home can usually manage it.

You may feel groggy when you wake up from a long nap, but your brain fatigue soon disappears. Your mind is sharper, your memory powers are stronger and your learning abilities are greater after a nap. Daily, hour-long naps can have lasting benefits for your brain and career.

3. Naps Fuel Your Creativity

Longer naps also fuel your creativity. Studies show that sleepers who enter the REM phase have more creativity than those who take shorter naps. In fact, people who sleep on their problems often find creative solutions shortly after they wake up.

Scientists have found links between long naps and increased activity in the brain’s right hemisphere, the part of your brain that is associated with creativity. In most careers, creativity is essential for success.

4. Naps Increase Your Productivity

Traditionally, employers viewed sleeping on the job as a sign of laziness. Today, progressive companies encourage their workers to take power naps. They view napping as a tool to increase productivity.

Studies show that afternoon naps can improve your job performance. Just as coffee stimulates your brain with a jolt of caffeine, napping improves your mental prowess with a rest break. Sometimes, you just need to recharge your brain so you can get on with your work.

5. Naps Relieve Your Stress

The way you handle stress is a factor in your career success. Napping can boost your career by lowering your stress levels. Just the thought of taking a break for a few minutes can help you relax.

Sleep deprivation causes irritability, which causes additional stress. If you can’t pay back lost sleep with a nap, take a 15-minute work break. A few minutes of rest can help you feel relaxed and better able to deal with work day challenges.

1. America, It’s Time for Your Nap // WebMD
2. How Napping Can Give Your Life a Boost // Lifehacker
3. How Wasting Time Can Boost Your Career // Business Insider
4. Nap Time? Sleeping at Work Boosts Productivity // Business News Daily
5. Why You Should Let Your Employees Nap at Work // Entrepreneur
6. Definitive Guide to Sleep Apnea (+ Pillows) // PillowPancake