Have you ever helped yourself to a large lunch at work and couldn’t but help doze off at your desk? If you have, you’re probably no stranger to the hell that follows. You see, dozing off at work is a rather unforgivable sin at the work spaces and places that we are used to. But did you know, things are not quite the same all over the world? You see, there are some places where falling asleep on the job is absolutely acceptable. Don’t believe us? Allow us to introduce you to Inemuri. The Japanese art of sleeping on the job.
Translated from Japanese into “asleep while being present”, Inemuri is a way of life that only adults seem to be familiar with. While children have Hirune or specific nap times allocated for them, for Japanese adults, things are quite different. At the end of the day, they are known to be some of the hardest working people on the planet!
Nap here, nap now!
It was during one of my trips to Japan several years ago that I was introduced to this very interesting, but alien concept. I was used to a 9-5 work life in India and if anything, sleeping on the job, in my workplace was absolutely unacceptable. Even if we had pulled an all-nighter and could barely keep our eyes open the next day. In a haze of coffee and sleeplessness, the hours spent at work were rather… unproductive.
In Japan, I realized that there was a rather simple solution to deal with all those extra hours, all that hustling and the inevitable burning out because you were too busy trying to keep your eyes open. Yes, you guessed it right: urban napping!
The power of naps
To be honest, if you really think about it, you’ll realise that gone are the days when organizations looked down upon an employee dozing off. In fact, if you take a look around any modern organization that is known to care for its employees, you’ll see tons of sleeperies and sleeping pods in place, offering respite from the long, stressful hours you spend toiling away at work.
Did you know, that power naps do quite a bit more than help you combat mental and physical exhaustion. They boost your memory, help you learn and understand better, impact your creativity positively, and even makes you more alert. But if they really do help so much, you must be wondering, why are people so apprehensive of them? To be honest, you can’t really blame them.
The rules of the naps
After all, not all naps are equal, some just end up making you feel worse. Thing is, if you don’t know the rules of Inemuri, you will wake up groggy, disoriented and desperate to go back to sleep!
For starters, you must know how to respect everyone’s space. Dozing off can often mean that you have no idea where your head is lolling off to. And while it might help you, it might endlessly annoy your colleague whose bag you have ended up using as your pillow! If you really have to use a bag, make sure its your own. Plus it makes sure that no one has access to it while you’re in dreamland.
Even though sleep is about comfort, it isn’t particularly advised to drag up several chairs to make a bed out of it on the work floor. Sleeping on the table resting your head on it might not be the most comfortable thing to do, but we aren’t trying to get a good night’s sleep here, you see.
Snoring, though uncontrollable, can prove to be quite the Inemuri sin. The thing about public napping is ensuring that no one else around you is disturbed. And the one thing loud snores do ensure is public disgruntlement.
Similarly, it isn’t recommended to keep your phone on loud as you wait for your alarm to wake you up. Especially when others are busy at work and don’t want shrill rings to distract them!
In case you see a fellow colleague over-sleeping, it isn’t rude to wake them up. In fact, if you see a friend looking visibly exhausted, don’t hesitate to urge them to take that quick nap!
However, embracing Inemuri in no way means embracing a toxic work culture that forces you to work so hard that you can barely keep yourself together. It doesn’t mean hustling 24X7 and it most definitely doesn’t mean becoming a slave to your workplace. What it simply means is making sure that you don’t burn out trying to get everything done when work hours seem long and deadlines overwhelming!