Take a nap after drinking coffee? What? Isn’t coffee supposed to keep you bright-eyed and bushy-tailed awake?
Scientists have found that taking what they call a “coffee nap” will make you rest better and consequently feel better in the process.
The theory behind it is this: when the caffeine enters your brain from the bloodstream, it tries to fit into the neuroreceptors in your neurons. These particular receptors fit the neurotransmitter adrenosine, which normally makes you sleepy. After drinking coffee, the caffeine will compete with the adrenosine for these receptors. It’s able to boot out most of the adrenosine, but not all, hence why you may still feel sluggish after drinking coffee.
The kicker is that after you sleep for 15-20 minutes, a/k/a take a power nap, your brain flushes out the adrenosine. If you sleep longer, then you will plummet into deeper stages of sleep, which are much more difficult to recover from than the coveted power nap.
So since it takes 20 minutes for caffeine to leave your bloodstream and enter your brain, the theory is that if you drink coffee, and then take a nap, your power nap will flush out the adrenosine, leaving more receptors open for the caffeine to attach to. When you wake up, you’ll feel far more refreshed since the adrenosine is gone, and you’ll feel more awake and alert with the extra caffeine hooked into your neurons.
Seems pretty ingenious, right?
Curious to try it out? Here’s how:
- Drink coffee, and do it quickly.
- As soon as you finish, try to nap. Remember, you don’t have to go completely to sleep to get the effects of a power nap.
- Wake up within 20 minutes. Anything longer than that, and you will dive into REM sleep. You want to be awake when the caffeine hits your brain.
Obviously, decaf coffee won’t help you with a power nap. You can still take a power nap with decaf, but it won’t technically be a coffee nap without the added caffeine. Sodas won’t work as well either, as they have too much sugar to let you settle down enough to nap.