Caffeine Nap : The Ultimate Power Up

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The caffeine nap

Life is full of oxymorons. Military intelligence, corporate ethics and diet ice cream are some of my favourites. Another great contradictory term is the caffeine nap, which sounds like a joke, but is actually backed up by hard scientific evidence.

So what has caffeine got to do with napping? Surely the last thing you want to do when you're tired is down a double espresso?

The science of caffeine napping

The phenomenon was first studied by British scientists at Loughborough University  , looking into ways to combat driver sleepiness. After  measuring the participants' brainwaves whilst in a driving simulator, they found that the caffeine/nap combo worked better than either caffeine or napping on it's own, cold air, or a break with no nap. The caffeine nap was most effective at improving driving performance, virtually eliminating the mid-afternoon drowsiness peak that the other groups exhibited.

Why is it so effective?

The reason it works so well is because it takes around 20 minutes for the body to respond to the effects of caffeine. By taking a short nap immediately after consumption, the stimulant effect kicks in just as you are waking up. Not only will you feel revived from your power nap, you'll also have the added benefit of the caffeine boost.

How to take a caffeine nap

You can use this technique any time, but it's most effective in the afternoon to combat the the mid afternoon energy slump. It's a great productivity tip for work and works wonders for drowsy drivers. If you don't like coffee you can use a caffeine supplement - the kind of pill that students use to cram all night before their finals.

relaxing room

1) Find a suitable environment to take a nap.

If you're at work, try to find the most relaxing environment, somewhere quiet that you're not going to be disturbed, ideally with dim lighting, and not too noisy. A comfy sofa or armchair will do. Useful nap-cessories are  foam ear plugs, an eye mask or maybe you could even splash out on an Ostrich pillow

 

 

coffee

2) Grab your favourite caffeine laden beverage or pill.

Coffee is ideal, as are caffeine supplements like Pro-Plus etc. Coke and Pepsi are no good, they don't contain enough caffeine. The scientists used a dosage of 200mg but you can experiment on what works best for you. Also watch out for sugar drinks, you might get a glucose-rush that prevents you from napping altogether.  Use this caffeine chart to pick your poison.

 

alarm clock

3) Set your alarm to go off in 15-20 mins.

This is very important because you need to wake before you enter deep sleep. If you nap for too long you could end up drifting off into a slow-wave sleep pattern and run the risk of felling groggy when you wake up. Also you want to wake up before the caffeine hit kicks in. Watch this video on the science of napping for more tips.

 

 

power nap

4) Don't delay, take your nap straight away.

Now the easy part. Kick off your shoes, get your head down and enjoy a nice relaxing snooze!

 

 

 

If you like this tip, send some feedback in the comments below, we'd love to hear your caffeine nap success stories!

References

Suppression of sleepiness in drivers: combination of caffeine with a short nap. Reyner LA, Horne JA. Sleep Research Laboratory, Loughborough University, Leicestershire, UK. Psychophysiology. 1997 Nov;34

Jeff Mann (109 Posts)

Jeff Mann is the founder and editor of Sleep Junkies.


Comments

  1. Jacques says:

    Nap(x) + Caffeine = (cocaine*1000)^75 , if 15min<x<20min

  2. Pierre says:

    My room mate introduced this concept to me. I just performed it today and started doing some research on it afterwards. I know... a little backwards haha. Anyway, it so happened that I followed the steps on this site exactly. I feel more energized than I usually do with a nap alone or with coffee alone. Really works. I did notice my body shivering while I was taking a nap...even now. I don't usually drink coffee, so I think that may be a reaction to the caffeine.

Trackbacks

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