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Take a nap and make your day

Health educator Thea O?Connor hangs a 'Do Not Disturb' sign on a super-relaxed Trina Schaefer.
Health educator Thea O?Connor hangs a 'Do Not Disturb' sign on a super-relaxed Trina Schaefer.



Power napping or mini-siestas could make all the difference to your day, says Thea O'Connor.

The dietician and health educator told women attending the Coffs Coast Womens Network breakfast yesterday that women waged a day-to-day battle with tiredness, but an afternoon catnap could turn the tide.

She said research showed workers trying to battle on through exhaustion made more errors and napping had been shown to improve learning.

Speaking on health issues for working women, Ms O'Connor said a 10-minute nap or even lying down and relaxing for 10 minutes could eliminate tiredness and help workers avoid those mistakes.

Ms Connor said tiredness and lack of energy was a topic which concerned working women as much as more 'nor- mal' worries like wanting to be fitter and lose weight.

Ms O'Connor first discovered napping through bodyworks somatics, exercise classes which include naps.

Then she read The Art of Napping by American authors William and Camille Anthony and was an immediate convert.

"A couple of years ago I got tired of feeling tired, so I created a chill-out room in our workplace and put a Do Not Disturb sign on the door," Ms Connor said.

"I have a good sleep at night, but specialists point out that an afternoon downturn in energy is a normal, natural thing and other siesta cultures recognise that.

"There are two natural low points in the day, between 2am-3am in the morning and 2pm-3pm in the afternoon and that's when our biological alertness really drops."

Bosses have been underwhelmed by power napping, saying it would be a nightmare to implement in most workplaces.

"There's an attitude problem when it comes to the workplace," Ms O'Connor said.

"They say 'I don't want to pay for workers to sleep on the job,' but there are productivity gains.

"It's strange ? it's OK to have coffee breaks and tea breaks, artificial stimulants are OK but there's distrust about true rejuvenation."

o The Sydney Morning Herald has declared today Workplace Siesta Day and will publish next Wednesday a list of all siestafriendly employers who let their staff grab a nap today. Bosses can be nominated by emailing contact details to radar@smh.com.au by 5pm Monday.



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