In praise of the power nap

What other 20-minute investment gives you an immediate productivity boost?

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Brightidea.com CEO Matt Greeley says naps keep staffers sharp.

(Fortune Small Business) -- There is a quick-acting miracle cure for weariness that won't cost you a dime. It's called a nap.

"What other 26-minute investment gives you a 54% productivity boost?" asks Mark Rosekind, a former Stanford University sleep researcher who now heads sleep consulting firm Alertness Solutions in Cupertino, Calif.

Rosekind hit upon these figures by studying pilots who took brief naps (26 minutes on average) between flights and comparing their performance with that of their peers who didn't. So it seems work-day nappers Winston Churchill, Thomas Edison, and Albert Einstein were on to something.

Even very short periods of shuteye can help keep you sharp. Researchers at Germany's University of Düsseldorf recently found that subjects who took six-minute catnaps showed markedly better short-term memory than those who stayed awake. Even the busiest CEO can fit that in! And because entrepreneurs control their schedules, they are ideal candidates for napping.

Matt Greeley, 34, is CEO of Brightidea.com, a 30-employee Silicon Valley consulting firm where napping on the dozen or so couches around the office is encouraged. He says 15- to 20-minute catnaps are typical - "especially when we're working weekends, which we often do." Upon waking, staffers commonly jot down ideas. "People aren't robots. I'd rather have employees rested and ready to handle a new challenge. To top of page

Have sleep issues affected your work? Join the discussion in our forum - or share your story in video and pictures with iReport.

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