Could napping be the key to U.S. diplomacy?


(AP)

The next big wave in U.S diplomacy? Napping.

A visit from media maven Arianna Huffington to the U.S. Embassy in London on Monday may have done wonders for diplomatic efforts between the two allies — or at least for the daily lives of the foreign service officers. We imagine it must be difficult to be maintain friendly relations when you’re cranky.

Now London isn’t exactly a hardship post, but work is work, and studies show that a midday snooze boosts productivity and overall health. Huffington is a big proponent of workplace naps, and suggested to Ambassador Matthew Barzun that he might consider finding quiet space in the embassy for staff to sleep.

Barzun said the notion was “so moved,” according to the Huffington Post. “We’re going to look at nap room locations,” he said. The United States is in the process of building a new embassy in London. Perhaps Barzun can talk to developers about setting aside a sleeping nook.

There’s already a historical precedent in England for the coveted nap. There may have been a world war going on, but apparently Prime Minister Winston Churchill found time to sneak in some afternoon shut eye.

“Nature had not intended mankind to work from 8 in the morning until midnight without the refreshment of blessed oblivion which, even if it only lasts 20 minutes, is sufficient to renew all the vital forces,” Churchill said in his memoir.

UPDATE: So sorry to bear the bad news to our diplomats in England, but they’ll have to settle for a pint or a cup of tea to decompress. State spokeswoman Marie Harf squashed any talk of nap rooms in the U.S. embassies during a press briefing on Tuesday:

“In a private talk yesterday, U.S. employees at the embassy in London, Ariana Huffington touted the productivity benefits of getting more sleep, something we can probably all attest to, and urged the ambassador to follow the Huffington Post’s example of installing nap rooms,” Harf said. “The ambassador graciously and diplomatically said he would look into it. While we are not considering establishing nap rooms at Embassy London or any of our diplomatic missions at this time, we obviously think that work-life balance is important, and someday I will attempt to find it.”

 

Colby Itkowitz is a national reporter for In The Loop.
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