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WORK DAZE: Asleep at the Wheel

Did I wake you?


I didn’t expect you to be sleeping this time of day, but now that I’ve read Tim Herrera’s eye-opening article in The New York Times, I realize that a good time to expect you to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed is never.


While I’m sorry to rouse you from your slumber, “Feeling Groggy? Here’s How to Stop Robbing Yourself of a Good Sleep” raises issues so relevant to your sad situation at work that I can’t, in good conscience, return you to zombie mode.

Plus, we recently faced end of daylight saving time, one more fiendish plan concocted by our corporate overlords to squeeze out the modicum of optimism you still might feel for your job and your life by making you drive home in the dark.

No matter the nefarious reasons for monkeying with your sleep, the bodily changes that come from changing the clock do bring up the importance of what author Herrera calls “good sleep hygiene.”

This may shock you, but poor sleep hygiene leads to weight gain, serious illness, lack of focus and increased rates of workplace accidents.

Of course, the only workplace accident you are likely to commit is actually doing some work, but it’s still worthwhile to look at your sleep hygiene, or lack thereof.

The first step in diagnosing your sleep issues is “listen to your body.”

If your body has nothing to say, you are instructed to ask yourself “Are you tired?” Theoretically, your body could answer, “I’m quite rested, thank you for asking,” but the response you receive from your body will probably be along the lines of, “Get off my back! All these questions are making me exhausted.”

If you do decide that your body is indeed tired, there is a very simple next step–“go to bed.” This will not be easy for a dynamic human person like yourself, and you may find yourself resisting your body’s demand for increased beauty rest, especially if you are at work and don’t have a bed handy, or you are at home, and do have a bed available, but it’s your night to watch “Superior Donuts.”

On the other hand, since you already get more sleep than a North American opossum–a sleep piker compared to you, clocking in at only 18 hours a day–the problem is not the quantity of your sleep; it’s the quality that stinks.

This shouldn’t surprise you. After all, the few hours of the day when you’re awake stink, too.

To analyze your sleep quality, Herrera recommends a sleep-tracker.      SleepCycle, the author’s recommended app, uses a microphone and an accelerometer to “track movement in your bed.” This high-tech sleep analysis tool may be of limited utility to you, considering that your bed hasn’t seen much movement for way too long.

Another step you can take to improve sleep quality is to figure out “whether you’re a morning person or a creature of the night.” Considering that you get sleepy the moment you come to work, and still leave the office exhausted, the likely answer is “none of the above.”

This is why it is so important that you follow the Herrera’s most brilliant piece of advice — “If you’re tired during the day, take a nap.”

Since you already have a number of nap locations secreted around your office, take a page from the ultimate sleep expert, Count Dracula, and move your sleepy hidey-holes on a regular basis. Remember: A stake through the heart is bad, but dealing with the senior vice president who finds you asleep on the cloud server is worse.       Research also suggests that when you take your nap can make a difference. “Don’t take them too late in the afternoon,” Herrera writes, “since it can negatively affect your sleep schedule.”

But you don’t need research to tell you this. You’ve always started your naps the moment you punch in, diligently clocking some morning zzz’s, so you’re sufficiently awake in the afternoon to know when it’s time to go back to sleep.

Some might feel that an employee who sleeps through the day is not contributing much, but we know that between your morning nap and your afternoon nap, there is a period when you are perfectly rested and totally productive.

Unfortunately for your boss, this interlude of productivity coincides perfectly with your lunch hour, but, hey, isn’t that the one time of the workday that you want to be wide-awake?

Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company, but he finally wised up and opened Bob Goldman Financial Planning in Sausalito, California. He now works out of Bellingham, Washington. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at


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