Having mastered the art of sleeping at work, Drew clearly remembers the tricks he used to steal naps during his first job at a public relations firm in Manhattan: stacking boxes in front of an empty office so no one would enter, putting a phone to his ear so co-workers would think he was on a business call, or dozing at a nearby Starbucks.
The problem was, Drew was regularly staying out until 4AM and sleeping just three hours on most weeknights. The result was some dead-time at work from 9AM to 1PM when most people are busy, he told AOL Jobs. "Everything took a little longer to do because of the battle to sleep," explained Drew.
He admitted that he would hit the wall earlier in the day, but that his mind and body would eventually catch up, and at 5PM he was ready to go again and routinely got lots of work done after hours. His supervisors weren't aware of his naps at his desk, and his work didn't suffer, he said.
Fortunately, when Drew -- who didn't want his last name used because he didn't want his former habit to affect him at his current job -- was caught napping at work, he and his former co-workers all had a laugh about it . It wasn't as much of a concern any more because it was no longer a regular habit, and this time it didn't affect his performance.
Drew, now 30, said he doesn't continue his all-night partying like he did from 2003 to 2006, when he was at his old job, and is now getting enough sleep for a regular day's work.
His sleeping habits matched what a new survey commissioned by Philips Consumer Lifestyle, which makes light therapy products, found when it looked at sleep patterns of white-collar office workers in the United States. Nearly one in four of office workers polled admit to taking a nap at work, and roughly one third admit to oversleeping and waking up after they were already supposed to be at work.
Most people need about eight hours of sleep, and getting less can lead to impairment at work, explained Dr. Russell Rosenberg, vice chairman of the National Sleep Foundation.
"Most people are trying to cheat their sleep and they don't recognize the consequences," Rosenberg told AOL Jobs.
The impairment from not getting enough sleep could include falling asleep on the job, lapses of attention, and not being able to maneuver machinery. There are also potential health problems, he said, such a metabolic problems, as well as increased rates of both diabetes and obesity. A hormone for appetite control is released during sleep; someone who doesn't sleep enough might not get enough of the hormone, which could result in weight gain, explained Rosenberg.
"They just accept some of the consequences, because they're not [all] immediately evident," Rosenberg said of the sleep-deprived.
Along with office workers admitting naps, other findings in the survey include:
- 85 percent of office workers admit that if they slept more, they would be more productive while on the job.
- More than half (56 percent) of office workers don't consistently get a good night's sleep.
- Two-thirds (64 percent) of office workers surveyed believe that lack of sleep means their day begins on a low note.
- Two-thirds (64 percent) of employees do not wake up before their alarm goes off and more than one-third (37 percent) are not ready to get up when their alarm goes off.