Why taking a nap?
I was never a nap lover; in fact, I used to think that naps were only for older adults because the only people I saw taking “siestas” in my family were my grandmothers. But I was wrong; naps can improve alertness, reduce stress, and boost immune response regardless of your age. In addition, taking a short nap can boost your energy in the second half of the day, especially if you had a stormy night sleep or a very stressful morning at work; Napping will help you perform and feel better.
How to take a nap?
Timing is crucial; A long nap or a nap taken too late in the day may adversely affect the length and quality of nighttime sleep. For most people, a good time is around 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. It is early enough, and it won’t interfere with your regular bedtime.
How long should you nap? Ideally, between 10 and 20 minutes, longer than that, will lead to sleep inertia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleep_inertia, which will make you feel more tired and feel grogginess. For me, 20 minutes seems to be the sweet spot. But there is no magic formula; some people need 20 minutes while others can benefit from a 10 minutes nap. The best way to find out what works for you is by experimenting.
When you feel sleepy or low on energy, taking a short nap can help you reduce stress and perform mentally and physically better. But if you want to take your nap to the next level, then a coffee nap is the way to go. Let’s discover why and how this works!
What is a coffee nap?
Unlike any other nap, a coffee nap means you can drink a cup of coffee 15-20 minutes before a nap. You may think that drinking coffee will keep you awake instead of helping you fall asleep, but remember that it takes time until your body feels the effects of caffeine. How long exactly? You guess about 20 minutes, so timing is vital if you want to benefit from a coffee nap.
A study shows that caffeine+nap was the most effective for subjective sleepiness and performance level; its effects lasted one h after napping. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14652086/.
How does this work?
To understand better how a coffee nap works, let’s see how caffeine works in our brain. When we drink a cup of coffee, after it’s absorbed by our small intestines and passes into your bloodstream, it crosses into your brain; Here, caffeine attache to receptors that usually are filled with a molecule called adenosine. Caffeine and adenosine are very similar in structure but have very different effects.
Adenosine promotes sleep. When we are tired, we have more adenosine in the body which makes us sleepy and prevents our brains from overworking. In deep sleep stages, the body eliminates adenosine giving us a refreshing feeling, but shorter naps (no longer than 20 minutes) don’t lead to this.
So if you nap for those 20 minutes, you’ll reduce your levels of adenosine just in time for the caffeine to kick in. As a result, the caffeine will have less adenosine to compete with and will be even more effective in making you alert.
How to take a coffee nap?
- Drink a cup of coffee 15-20 minutes before your usual nap.
- Go to bed, so when you start getting sleepy, you are already in bed.
- Make sure to wake up within 20 minutes, so you don’t enter the deeper stages of sleep and you’re awake when the caffeine is just starting to hit your brain.
Congratulations, you just had a coffee nap!!!
Note on caffeine: Drinking too much coffee even six hours before bedtime is likely to have disruptive effects on sleep; So I strongly recommend you keep the caffeine for the morning and opt for decaf options in the afternoon. For more information, go to the link below.
Naps are a great way to boost energy and give our body and brain a short vacation from the daily stressors. Naps can improve your job performance and help reduce stress, benefiting you and the people around you. Coffee naps are even more effective, but there are some things to keep in mind; First, 15-20 minutes before your nap, drink coffee, take a 20 minutes nap and not longer!