Earlier this week, Becky Hammon became the first full-time female assistant coach in NBA history. As it turns out, this week marked yet another historical breakthrough for females: "Women have served in the House since 1917 and in the Senate since 1922. Only recently have they cracked another formerly male preserve: the club of congressional office sleepers," reports in the Wall Street Journal

Hear that? It's the sound of glass ceilings cleaving. But seriously, workaholics, there's news here you can use. The Journal's account of Reps. Kristi Noem of South Dakota, Lynn Jenkins of Kansas and Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington provides a practical overview of why workplace crashing is sometimes wise--and sometimes scary.

To wit, here's a short list of the pros and cons of office overnights: 

The Pros

1. You'll consistently show up early. "All three women rise early, shower at a congressional gym and return to their offices well before their staff arrives," notes the Journal.

2. You'll get more exercise. The congresswomen use the congressional gym not only for showering, but also for working out. If there's a health club or gym near your office, you too will be in a better position to work up a sweat each morning--and still reach the office before everyone else.

3. You'll role-model positive, mission-based behavior. Members of Congress have to battle two negative perceptions. The first is that they earn $174,000 salaries for part-time work that accomplishes little. The second is that they have an attitude of entitlement for their positions. Noem and Jenkins believe that their overnights in the office broadcast an anti-entitlement message to constituents: Specifically, that they're in Washington to work, rather than to settle down and get cozy. "It was never my goal to come to DC and be comfortable," Noem tells the Journal.

The Cons

1. You'll have to live with a limited wardrobe. No time at home usually means no access to a closet. And like it or not, how you dress in the workplace makes a big difference, especially for one's personal brand

2. You'll potentially have to deal with rodents. Which can be scary, if you're all alone at night. Noem admits to the Journal that a mouse in her office once disturbed her. Her solution? She sealed the door crack with duct tape. 

3. You'll have difficulty getting enough sleep. Rodents or no, it's not going to be easy sleeping in a workplace. Noem brought in a noise machine, so she'd hear less clanging and banging from nearby loading docks. 

You might think to yourself: "I only need four hours of sleep, anyway." But that would be ignoring recent research about how sleep deprivation--and even getting fewer than eight hours a night--can damage your health (and certainly your productivity).

Peter Shallard, a psychologist whose specialty is working with entrepreneurs, has blogged about sleeping strategies for stressed-out small business owners. His tips include leaving your phone in another room and giving your mind at least 45 minutes to transition from business to sleep. Simple as those tactics sound, you can see how they'd be harder to execute if you're crashing in an office. 

So as you can see--and as some of our nation's leaders have learned firsthand--sleeping in the workplace has its ups and downs.

Are the benefits worth the perils? That, as always, depends on who you are, and the sliding scales of your life's priorities.

Published on: Aug 8, 2014