Coffee naps more effective than regular naps

coffee naps

Sleeping kitten, i know, a cat on the internet, shocking!

It’s the end of the week and you are feeling tired. Maybe it’s time to take a quick nap to charge up those batteries. But you don’t want that sluggish feeling caused by sleeping to long and waking abruptly from deep sleep. So what do you do? The answer might lie in coffee naps, drinking coffee and then taking a nap.

Caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant, it makes you more alert and can prevent you from falling asleep. Caffeine works by binding to a receptor in the brain called the Adenosine receptor where it competes with Adenosine, a byproduct from brain activity. Adenosine accumulates during the day and makes you feel more tired as more of it binds to the brain receptors. If Adenosine already occupies most of the receptors in the brain the caffeine molecule cant bind to the receptors since the Adenosine is already there this gives you less of an effect from the caffeine.

The way to get around this problem is to take a nap. This will clear the Adenosine from the receptors and make them available to the caffeine. The tricky part in this is the timing, you have about 20 min from the time you start drinking the coffee until it’s absorbed into the bloodstream and travel to your brain, this leaves you a very small window to fall asleep in.

I’ve tried this myself using espresso as the source for the caffeine and the time i managed to fall asleep i felt very rested when i awoke about 20min later.

The science of Coffee naps

This effect have been studied in several different studies. In a study where the combination of caffeine and naps were investigated. Researchers found that the combination were more than three times as effective in avoiding traffic incidents in a car simulator as caffeine treatment alone. In another study the coffee naps approach was tested to see if the participants performed better at memory tests using different methods of raising their alertness. The coffee naps approach led to participants performing better than their counterparts. The coffee naps won out against bright lights, face washing or just regular naps.

It should be pointed out that several of theses studies are very small with the number of participants varying from a few to a few dozen. The science they base it on is sound and since there is no negative side effects of the method, except maybe not being able to fall asleep, i recommend you give it a try.

Image credit: Anita via wikimedia commons in accordance withCC BY-NC-ND 2.0