So we’ve all experienced the mid-afternoon crash. After lunch, we lose all motivation and energy to do any work. Sometimes, it feels like it takes all your energy to even keep your eyes open.
Whatever you try to do you can shake away this feeling. It’s especially bad when you’re trying to do work. You may reach for a cup of coffee…. and then another, but it doesn’t work.
If this is you, you may need a coffee nap. Contrary to popular belief, you will feel more energetic after a quick nap and not groggy. It all depends on how you take your nap.
Why you are feeling sleepy… You may need to take a coffee nap
Science proves that there is a chemical reaction that authenticates coffee naps. Adenosine, which is the sleep chemical that caffeine inhibits, promotes sleep.
Caffeine fits into the same receptors as adenosine which is why it makes you feel more awake. It blocks the adenosine from making you sleepy.
Once your caffeine runs out and your body is full of adenosine there is nothing you can do other than take a quick nap to lower the adenosine levels in your body.
This is why sometimes you’re fighting to keep your eyes open and there is nothing you can do to stop them from closing. There is a chemical reaction going on in your body and nothing you physically do will keep you awake.
This is when the coffee nap comes in handy. By drinking coffee and taking a quick power nap you can reap the benefits of both the coffee and the nap when you wake up.
While you are asleep, your body will naturally clear out any adenosine in your body while the caffeine gives you energy and alertness once you get up.
Do coffee naps really work and give you more energy?
So you may think by drinking coffee you will not be able to nap, but that is not true. Conventional wisdom says that coffee will interfere with you sleeping. But, that is wrong.
It will take some time for the caffeine to enter your bloodstream and affect you. You will have time to squeeze in a quick power nap.
If you cannot sleep it may because your brain associates drinking coffee with working and keeps you awake. If you attempt a coffee nap a few times over a few weeks of trying you may have more success.
The trick to a coffee nap is to take a quick 20-minute nap. While taking a quick nap the adenosine is naturally cleared from your brain.
If you nap for longer than 20 minutes you may fall into a deeper sleep and wake up groggy. You will need to recover from waking from a deeper sleep so this is why we limit the nap to 20 minutes.
20 minutes is also the amount of time for the coffee to start affecting you. Normally it will take about 20 minutes for the coffee to make it through your gastrointestinal tract into your bloodstream to be circulated throughout your body.
In theory, if you do a coffee nap correctly you should be waking up just as the coffee is affecting you with all the adenosine in your body being removed. The caffeine will have less adenosine to compete with in your brain and as a result, make you even more alert.
How to take a coffee nap
So when trying to take a coffee nap there are a few things to keep in mind. All these questions will be answered below.
- How much coffee should I drink?
- When should I take a coffee nap?
- When should I drink the coffee for a coffee nap?
- How long should my coffee nap be?
You should aim for a 20 minute nap time when attempting a coffee nap.
When attempting a coffee nap drink about 200 mg of caffeine, which is equivalent to about 2 cups of coffee, before napping.
Once you finish your coffee immediately attempt to take your nap. The faster your drink your coffee the better.
When to take a coffee nap
While taking a coffee nap is great for you, coffee can still affect your normal bedtime and affect your deep REM sleep cycles.
The best time to take a coffee nap is at least 6 hours before your bedtime. This is because caffeine may still be in your bloodstream if you drink coffee less than 6 hours before you normally sleep.
If you are interested to see how long caffeine and coffee last in the body read more about that in another article posted on Coffee Informer.
Step-by-step guide to take a coffee nap
- Enjoy a 1 – 2 cups of coffee and try to drink them as quickly as possible. Do not attempt this too late in the day.
- Once you are close to finishing your coffee set an alarm for 20 minutes in the future. I like using the Alarmy app on my iPhone and selecting the Power Nap option for 20 minutes.
- Immediately lie down and find a place to take a nap. The caffeine will start effecting you in 20 minutes so you want to be tired enough to immediately fall into a light sleep.
- Wake up energized and ready to work!
Are coffee naps for you?
There is no harm in trying something new if you think it will help you! If you are not a big napper you may have a hard time falling asleep quickly and easily.
The pressure of falling asleep within 20 minutes may actually make it even harder to nap.
This will be best for a natural napper that wants to wake up more energized.
Coffee napping will also be less effective for those who constantly slam back coffees, lattes, and espressos all day. This is because there is already enough caffeine in your bloodstream that it will be difficult to even take the nap in the first place.
Those that drink a lot of coffee regularly may also have a resistance to caffeine so they may not wake up any more energized than normally.
Coffee nap tips and tricks
It may be difficult to chug 2 whole cups of coffee before your nap. So those of you that have an espresso machine can use this tip. Instead of brewing coffee you can pull a double or triple shot of espresso and have that instead. It’s a quick and painless way to ingest about 200 mg of caffeine.
For those of you that are not natural nappers may need some tips to fall asleep.
It will be difficult to fall asleep even if you’re exhausted. The thing is, some simple shut-eye even if you aren’t fully asleep will benefit you. Just by resting your eyes and brain, you will mirror and reap the benefits of a power nap.
So when you are lying down and don’t feel like you’re falling asleep just keep your eyed closed and clear your mind. It will have meditative effects and allow you to enjoy 10 – 20 minutes of peace.
Scientific sources for coffee naps
If you don’t trust me about coffee naps see these studies below that test and vouch for the validity of coffee naps:
- Suppression of sleepiness in drives: combination of caffeine with a short nap.
- The altering effects of caffeine, bright light and face washing after a short daytime nap.
- The use of prophylactic naps and caffeine to maintain performance during a continuous operation.
- Counteracting driver sleepiness: Effects of napping, caffeine, and placebo