Numerous studies show that a midday nap improves your attitude and performance. Unfortunately, most corporate cultures frown upon napping. Not to worry. When I had a corporate job, I figured how to take a daily nap, without taking the heat.

Obviously, if you have a private office with a locking door that has no window (like in Mad Men), you can take a nap whenever you want as long, as you don't snore too loudly. Such offices, alas, are increasingly rare. So here are your options:

1. Nap in your car.

Always park your car as far as possible from the office in whatever spot is the least likely to see foot traffic. If anyone asks why you park so far away, tell them that you need the exercise.

If your office has a parking lot lot, park in the back corner. If your office uses a parking structure, park on roof, unless it's visible from the office, in which case park one level down.

When you feel the need for a nap at 2PM, stick a plausible but vague note on your desk explaining why you're not there. Example: "In meeting until 3." Go to your car, lower the seat back, set your phone alarm, and take your nap.

2. Nap in the conference room.

Most office buildings have several conference rooms that you can schedule for meetings. Unlike the offices, conference rooms often have doors without windows in them. If so, schedule a meeting in the smallest conference room , but don't invite anybody.

Go your "meeting," close the door, and go to sleep in a chair with your body on the conference table. Sit close to the conference room door so if anyone opens it, you'll immediately wake up.

In most cases, people will assume that a meeting is taking place and not even open the door. However, if somebody does open it, sit up, look at the person as if you were expecting somebody else, then say: "This is bullsh*t. I'm not waiting here any longer."

Then storm out of the conference room in a huff.

3. Nap in the restroom.

In every office building there's usually a restroom that's not much frequented. Usually it's in the back of the building or on a floor that's lightly populated.

Leave your work area carrying a briefcase (if you still use one), a big laptop computer (if you've got one) or a big document. Also carry a couple of manila folders so it looks like you're going to a big meeting somewhere.

Park yourself in the stall farthest from the door, put the briefcase/computer/document in your lap, prop yourself up on your elbows and go for it. This sounds difficult but once you've trained yourself to sleep in this position, it's extremely easy.

4. Nap at your desk.

Get your desk located in a cubicle or workstation that's out of the general flow of traffic. This is a good idea anyway because you'll be more productive without the extra distraction.

Swivel your chair so that the back is facing the hallway. Put a clipboard, or folders or something in your lap and hold a pencil in your right hand as if you're about to write something.

Put your left hand on your telephone as if you're expecting a call. Balance yourself so that your head is supported by your torso and go for it. Again, this takes some practice but it's easier than you might think.

If somebody walks by your desk it will wake you up enough so that you can pick up the phone, like you're busy and about to make a call. Nobody will suspect that you were taking a nap because... who could possibly sleep napping in that position?

Me, that's who. And you can too, with a little practice.

5. Nap under your desk.

In one Seinfeld episode the character George Costanza had a custom desk made for him with a bed inside it so he could go to sleep at work. While that's overkill, I can say with 100% authority that it's possible to go to sleep under your desk.

Because I've done so, several times.

This only works if you're in a cubicle or office where the space under your desk is not visible from the hallway. Face your desk so that its back is to the door or cubicle opening. A daypack or a folded jacket makes a nice pillow.

There is, of course, the risk that somebody might come into your office and discover you sleeping. However, you can minimize that risk by hanging a white board and pen-on-a-string on your door or cubicle entrance.

I fully realize that the methods above sound slightly insane but I assure you that I have personally done all of the above, multiple times, in order to sneak a well-need nap at the office.

What's really crazy, IMHO, is that I had to go to such absurd lengths simply to keep my brain working at top performance. In fact, one of the reasons I left my corporate job is that I got tired of the hassle when all I needed was a quick nap.

My uncle, a self-made multimillionaire, used to tell me that "Success is being able to take a nap whenever you want one." So I say: grab some success and get your much-needed zzzzzs.

Published on: May 5, 2015
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