The Truth Behind Taking Caffeine Naps
You may think I’m crazy when you read my next sentence, but I’m going to say it anyway. Did you know that coffee and, more specifically, the caffeine in coffee, can help you get more out of your naps? It’s true. When you combine coffee or other sources of caffeine with a good power nap, you can actually wake up feeling more refreshed and with more energy than if you just chose the nap alone. This is sometimes referred to as a coffee nap or caffeine nap.
How could this be? After all, the caffeine in coffee is supposed to wake you up and give you a nice little burst of energy. You are correct, it does do those things. However, when combined with a nap it can actually give you more energy. To understand this, let’s take a look at what a caffeine nap is, the science behind it, and how you do it.
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What Is a Coffee Nap Exactly
Basically, a caffeine nap is a nap that is taken directly after consuming a drink or beverage that contains caffeine. Here we believe the best beverage for this is coffee, but you can choose almost anything with caffeine as long as it has at least 200mg of caffeine in it.
Now, when I say nap, I don’t mean a marathon nap that destroys your day. I’m talking more about power naps. These naps are usually only around 15 to 20 minutes at most. Anything more and you could go into a deep sleep that may result in feelings of grogginess when you wake.
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What you do is drink your cup of coffee or caffeinated beverage of choice and then immediately take a short nap. When you’re tired, this can give you an amazing boost of energy, and there is science to back it up!
The Science Behind It
Essentially, it all comes down to body chemistry. To be more specific, it all has to do with the ways that caffeine and adenosine react in the body. Caffeine as you know, boosts your energy levels, at least temporarily. Adenosine, on the other hand, is a chemical compound produced by your body that makes you feel drowsy. When you sleep, this compound is broken down, meaning there is less of it to compete with the caffeine in your body.
Now caffeine takes about a half an hour to work in your body, meaning that it takes about 30 minutes before you would feel any of the effects of the caffeine. So, by sleeping for 20 of those minutes, you reduce the amount of adenosine that is making you feel drowsy while giving the caffeine time to start working its magic in your body.
Scientists at Loughborough University were the first to examine this phenomenon. The results they found really surprised them. According to their study, the caffeine and nap combo was more effective at waking you up and making you feel refreshed than almost everything, including either caffeine or napping along, cold air, or just a simple break with no nap. It also almost completely eliminated that afternoon drowsiness period that they found many in their groups experienced.
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How to Take A Coffee Nap
Now that we understand a bit about caffeine naps, let’s take a few minutes to learn how to take them. In order to get the benefits of a good caffeine nap, you must follow these instructions properly and make sure all your timing is just right.
1. Find a place to take a nap.
First, find a good place to take a nap. Preferably a nice dark room with a bed but even a nice comfy couch will do. Make sure that everything is ready for you to stretch out and sleep when the time is right.
2. Brew your favorite cup of coffee.
Using whatever your favorite brewing method is, make yourself a nice cup of coffee. Once the brewing process has completed go ahead and enjoy your cup of coffee. Just make sure you don’t delay or take too long to drink it. Try to consume your cup of coffee in about five minutes.
3. Set an alarm to go off in 15-20 minutes.
While you are finishing your cup of coffee, go ahead and set an alarm either in your bedroom or on your phone to go off in about 15-20 minutes. You don’t want to sleep longer than that as you could go into a deep sleep and end up feeling groggy when you wake up.
4. Enjoy your nap.
Once your coffee is finished and your alarm is set, go ahead and lie down and enjoy your nap. Make sure you don’t wait too long, as you want to make sure you time your 20-minute nap just right so the caffeine kicks in just as you wake.
Too Much of a Good Thing
If you decide to use this process on a regular basis to boost your nap performance, just make sure you don’t overdo it. Too much caffeine over a long period of time can start to actually negatively impact your ability to sleep for longer periods of time. This means that your night time sleep schedule could be interrupted because of your method of nap taking. As with everything in life, too much of a good thing can actually end up being bad. So watch how often you actually use this method.
The whole idea of a caffeine nap may sound ludicrous, but there is actually real science that backs it up as one of the most effective ways to recharge your batteries during those really drowsy afternoons. Just remember timing is everything. If you deviate from the schedule even a little bit, you won’t get the most effect from this method of nap taking. You also need to be mindful of how often you do use this method, as the extra caffeine could ultimately upset your night time sleeping patterns.
The next time you are feeling drowsy in the afternoon, why not try a little caffeine nap instead of just relying on one or the other. I’m betting you will find that you will wake with your batteries even more recharged than normal so you have plenty of energy to power through the rest of the afternoon.