In Japan dozing anywhere from in Parliament to business meetings is allowed. It’s called inemuri, which literally means “to be asleep while present”.
The custom is partly a result of how commitment to a job is judged in Japan, says Dr Brigitte Steger. Inemuri is viewed as exhaustion from working hard and sacrificing sleep at night. Many people fake it to look committed to their job.
Not me, I have no reason to fake inemuri (or to look committed to my job) and can often be found actually asleep, while present, at my desk. If you prop yourself up with a stack of files and narrow your eyes into little more than slits so that the light can’t get in, you can usually get a couple of hours kip before some idiot wakes you with work, fire-drill or similar trivia. Obviously, the racial characteristic of narrower eyes is a big advantage to your Japanese inemuri practitioner, as is the balancing skill learned by following various oriental relaxation arts. Most western workers are lacking in these areas, although a good solid beer-gut can lower ones centre of gravity.
There have been occasions when unsympathetic colleagues have taken advantage of an inemui disciple. Robert Location, a clerk from Vodaphone, was wheeled on his office seat out of the building, and onto a farm truck going to Smithfield Market. As his three wheeled, high backed, executive chair spun wildly amongst sixty three Beaulah Speckled Faced sheep he woke and with a blood-curdling scream burst from the back of the truck onto the inside lane of the M25. Only then did he realise that he was stark naked except for a sign saying “Sheep Shagger” stuck onto his privates.
Despite this, I would urge you to give inemuri a go. When your boss finds you asleep at your desk and realises you are exhausted from over work he will reward you with praise, cash and promotion.
Then you will feel the true satisfaction of the inemuri master. You may even find he insists you spend more time at home practising.