I think that our culture has a warped view of sleep. Jason Fried recently wrote a great post entitled Being tired isn’t a badge of honor. One of my favorite passages is:
Your brain is still active at night. It works through matters you can’t address during the day. Don’t you want to wake up with new solutions in your head rather than bags under your eyes?
Back in 2008 I wrote a post about productive napping after having read Take a Nap! Change Your Life. by Dr. Sara Mednick At the time I wrote:
However, the most important thing that this book taught me was that it’s OK to nap. And not only is it OK, it’s very beneficial for your health and productivity. That got rid of the mental block I had that napping was somehow lazy or unproductive. The book also gets into how to get rid of the “nap stigma” at work/school so you can work napping into your lifestyle
If people aren’t willing to prioritize their sleep for their health, maybe they’ll be willing to prioritize sleep as a productivity tool. People are always looking for an edge, as evidenced by the explosive growth in “smart drugs“, when one of the biggest edges that almost everyone can improve upon is their sleep. It’s free, it can be done anywhere, and it has massive benefits in both the short term and long term.
No one is going to market sleep though. There’s money in nootropic-infused-smart-coffee. There’s not much money in telling people to take a nap. It’s on all of us as individuals, bosses, parents, and friends to change the stigma. If doing that successfully means downplaying the long term benefits while playing up the immediate productivity boosts, I’m all for it.