If you’ve come across the term coffee nap or caffeine nap and are wondering what it is, then you’ve come to the right place. Even if you haven’t, this might just turn out to be the one thing that you will want to add to your routine workday! Read on to know more.
What Exactly Is A Caffeine Nap?
A caffeine nap or a coffee nap is a short nap that one takes immediately after drinking a cup of coffee or any beverage that contains caffeine. The ideal duration of this nap is 15-20 minutes and one may need to set an alarm to wake up before 20 minutes are up. The ideal amount of coffee to be consumed for a caffeine nap is between 150-200 mg, (a single cup of coffee has around 160 mg of caffeine) The caffeine that you need can come from any source like coffee, tea, energy drinks, chocolate etc. You may need to adjust the amount of caffeine that you will need as per your regular intake and your sensitivity to it.
Science Behind It
There are two processes that control when we feel sleepy and fall asleep: our homeostatic sleep drive and the circadian alerting signal. (Don’t let these big words scare you yet.) And normally, sleep drive refers to the fact that the longer you stay awake, the sleepier you will get. The cells in our body use a chemical called adenosine triphosphate, for all their energy requirements, when our body is awake, and leave behind a chemical residue called adenosine. The longer we stay awake, the longer our body uses energy and the more adenosine gets accumulated in the brain. And the more adenosine there is in the brain, the sleepier we get.
When we sleep, the accumulated adenosine is cleared away by the brain. The more we sleep, the more adenosine gets cleared away, and if we are sleep deprived or sleep for let’s say only 4 hours in the night, we will wake up feeling sleepy because our body didn’t get enough time to clear out the adenosine. Even short periods of sleep effectively reduce adenosine levels. This is the reason why even a short nap has us waking up feeling refreshed. This effect is enhanced when caffeine is coupled with sleep, since caffeine blocks adenosine, the signal for sleepiness. That is why caffeine acts as a stimulant and keeps us alert even when sometimes we don’t sleep.
How To Take A Coffee Nap
1. Pick a time in the day when you are tired and you feel your body is ready for some sleep.
2. Drink a cup of your favorite coffee.
3. Drink it quickly, so that the coffee gets enough time to go through your GI tract and to get absorbed in your bloodstream.
4. Find a dark, cool corner to fall asleep in. An eye-mask and earplugs may help.
5. Don’t get worked up if you don’t fall asleep immediately. Even a quiet half-nap is good.
6. Set an alarm if required, but make sure you wake up in 15-20 minutes.
Should You Take A Caffeine Nap?
The best time to take your coffee nap is when you’re feeling very sleepy during the day. For most people, this happens to be between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. in the afternoon, the time when there is a natural dip in the circadian alerting signal. This also happens to be the time when people plan their afternoon siestas in many cultures. It might be a good idea to avoid planning your coffee nap later in the day or when it is nearing your bedtime. That is because the caffeine that you consume will take 5-6 hours to get metabolized by your liver and for half of it to get excreted out of the system. You don’t want your late coffee nap to keep you up when it’s time for you to go to bed in the night.