Do you want to make the most of your power naps? Then it’s time to reach for the coffee!
Although this may sound paradoxical – new evidence suggests that if you’re caffeinated, you can exploit a quirk in the way both sleep and caffeine affect your brain, achieving maximum alertness. According to experts, this combination of caffeine and sleeping can be more effective than a simple siesta or coffee on its own. So how does it work?
The science behind sleepiness
The power of the coffee nap all boils down to how caffeine affects you – and specifically, how it competes with the chemical compound adenosine. Adenosine is a drowsiness-inducing compound that accumulates in your brain while you’re awake, and dissipates during sleep. When caffeine enters the brain, it fits into receptors that are normally occupied by the similarly-shaped adenosine molecule – when adenosine plugs into these receptors, it causes you to feel tired. So, when adenosine has to compete for receptors with caffeine molecules, its ability to cause drowsiness is decreased.
They key to the coffee nap is that sleep naturally clears the brain of adenosine – therefore, after just a 20 minute power nap, you’ll reduce the levels of adenosine levels in your brain, just in-time for the caffeine molecules to arrive via your bloodstream. It’s all about timing.
How do you take a coffee nap?
Studies at Loughborough University have proved that a coffee nap is more effective than just caffeine or a nap – but how do you take one? Firstly, drink coffee. You could drink any beverage containing caffeine, but generally tea and soft drinks have much lower levels of the molecule – and therefore won’t be as effective. You’ll need to drink the coffee quite quickly to get the timing right, so an espresso could be your best option!
Immediately after finishing your cuppa, it’s time to go to sleep – don’t worry if you struggle to drift off straight away, you’ll get the benefit even if you only enter a ‘half-sleep’ stage. Most importantly, you must make sure you wake up after 20 minutes of sleep, just as the caffeine hits your brain. Any longer than 20 minutes and your body will enter a stage of ‘sleep inertia’, which will take some time to recover from.
Ready to boost your productivity and work a coffee nap into your day? Why not kit out your office or place of work with one of our eco-friendly office coffee machines, so you’ll never be short of a caffeine hit when you’re feeling drowsy!