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Coffee Power Nap

 

 

While it may sound counter-intuitive, several studies have  found that drinking coffee and then taking a 20-minute power nap maximizes alertness and performance.

Scientists have been evaluating coffee naps to see whether they are any better than just taking a nap or just drinking coffee (about 200 mg of caffeine)

In one study,  tired participants took a 15-minute coffee nap and then were tested on a driving simulator. The coffee-nap group had fewer errors than those who only napped or only drank coffee.

Another study examined how coffee nappers performed on memory tests. The participants who took coffee naps performed better than those who only drank coffee, took a nap, washed their face or had a bright light in their eyes.

In general, the caffeine in coffee  keeps you awake,  however,  having caffeine immediately before taking a 20 minute power nap, can result in feeling refreshed and energized.

 

How does it work?

Adenosine is a chemical in the body linked to the drive for sleep. While you’re awake, levels of adenosine in your brain continue to rise, signaling a shift toward sleep. While you sleep, your body breaks down adenosine.

Caffeine is an adenosine antagonist. By timing the ingestion of caffeine with a nap, you have a window of time prior to caffeine absorption.

It takes about 20 minutes for caffeine from coffee to be absorbed through the small intestines, pass into the bloodstream and then cross the blood brain barrier.

A 20-minute nap is the optimal time for your brain to rest without entering deeper stages of sleep.

How to take a coffee nap:

  • Serving size-   about 1 cup of coffee
  • Drink it quickly so there is a longer window of time before it reaches your brain. (Be careful not to burn yourself)
  • Try to go to sleep immediately
  • Resting or reaching a half-sleeping stage is also good
  • Wake up after 20 minutes. Any longer and you risk getting into deeper stages of sleep, which can leave you more tired.

 

References

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9401427

http://www.clinph-journal.com/article/S1388-2457(03)00255-4/abstract

 

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About the Author

Dr. Geoff LecovinNaturopathic Physician/Chiropractor/Acupuncturist/Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist/Corrective Exercise Specialist/Performance Enhancement Specialist/Certified Sports Nutritionist/View all posts by Dr. Geoff Lecovin

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