Why coffee naps are better than coffee or naps alone.
Tell me if the following scenarios sound familiar. You're getting through your day and suddenly hit a wall where you say to yourself, "holy sh*t, I need another cup of coffee!"
Or maybe you find yourself looking around for a place to lay your head in hopes of a much needed and well-deserved nap without your boss finding out?
Perhaps you're crazy enough to try both of them and enjoy the incredible benefits of a COFFEE NAP, also known as a Caffeine Nap.
In this article, you’ll learn why caffeine before a nap can be life-changing, the powerful benefits of a coffee nap, and how to incorporate caffeine naps to boost your productivity and energy levels.
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SLEEP AND CAFFEINE
When you think of falling asleep and the effects of caffeine, you may not realize that they work through similar pathways, albeit opposite one another.
Adenosine plays a vital role in sleep. Adenosine in the brain is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. It basically acts as a nervous system depressant. In normal conditions, it promotes sleep and suppresses arousal. When you’re awake, adenosine levels in your brain rise each hour, eventually leading to deep sleep as night time rolls around.
Studies tell us that throughout your daily activities, you accumulate adenosine in your brain. These levels increase, and you inevitably feel tired. When we sleep or, in this case, power nap, we stop the levels from going up, reducing adenosine. In other words, we wake up from a quick nap feeling refreshed because our adenosine levels are temporarily lower.
Caffeine works in part by blocking adenosine receptors. This prevents the normal process of getting tired mentioned above. So, a caffeinated beverage or, in this case, a cup of coffee can leave you feeling energized and awake. If you think of your brain as a car, caffeine doesn't actually step on the gas; it just blocks the brake.
However, caffeine cannot replace sleep. I know, because I've tried. Caffeine simply blocks the processing of adenosine, delaying the inevitable slumber that awaits. Side note: invest in a great mattress!
Now that you understand how adenosine works. Let's break down how a Coffee Nap works.
HOW COFFEE NAPS WORK
Now you know that sleeping and napping reduces the adenosine levels in your brain. You also know that coffee will block the adenosine receptors to keep you awake (side note: it takes roughly 20 min for this reaction to take place). That leaves us a 20 min napping window in which we will be able to do the following:
· Instantly reduce levels of adenosine in the brain and stop further adenosine accumulation · Reduce overall stress and cortisol levels +
· Counteract sleep inertia (waking up groggy and out of it) by feeling ready to take on the second half of the day
Next up, a quick primer on how to take a coffee nap whenever you need a boost.
HOW TO TAKE COFFEE NAPS
The basic formula isn’t exactly rocket science: drink coffee, then lie down and try to sleep.
When you drink a strong cup of coffee that contains around 100-200 mg of caffeine, you will have a 20-25 minute window to sleep while the caffeine absorbs into the body.
Even if you don’t get into a deep sleep, lying still can help calm your nervous system and rejuvenate your mind in conjunction with the coffee.
Pro-tip: Icing or cooling the coffee will allow you to drink it faster and leave you ample nap time before the caffeine kicks in. Caffeine digests extremely fast, but we are also only looking for a quick caffeine nap that will not leave you to feel guilty or groggy but fu$&ing awesome!
After you drink the coffee, set a timer for 20-25 min and lay your head down. As you sleep, your body will naturally stop and start to reduce the levels of adenosine in your brain. As adenosine levels decrease in your brain, you will have more mental energy to strategically kick your day's ass and keep your foot on the gas!
Upon waking up, adenosine levels will stop lowering and normalize, since you’re no longer asleep. In a normal situation, they would begin to rise again. But this isn't a normal situation. Upon waking up, your caffeine will kick in, effectively blocking adenosine receptors allowing you to keep going.
Are coffee naps safe?
There’s no evidence coffee naps are unsafe, and most experts agree that up to 400 milligrams of caffeine are safe for adults.+
Naps and coffee consumption are both associated with increased health, alertness, and performance, so the chances are high that coffee naps are a net positive for your overall health and quality of life.++
Are you ready to take a Coffee Nap?
There’s one last thing to consider before you try it yourself. Studies have shown in the last 6 months, stress has been at an all-time high, and sleep has been one of the things affected the most as a result.
In addition to stress, consuming caffeine close to sleep can negatively impact melatonin production. This study shows the negative impact of melatonin. It provides a better understanding of the benefits
of an early afternoon coffee nap versus the adverse effects of a late afternoon coffee. The late afternoon coffee will affect your much needed 7-9 hrs. of sleep.
A lack of sleep is not a reason to over caffeinate. Decisions should be made to better your overall situation, like drinking coffee with added functional and nutritional benefits and taking advantage of the science and information available. They say timing is everything, and in this case, 20-25 minutes in the early afternoon--not late afternoon or evening--is the perfect interval to take a coffee nap.