Wait. Is it a nap followed by coffee, or coffee followed by a nap? Well, it may seem counterintuitive, but it is in fact coffee, followed by a nap. These power naps have increased in popularity and there is scientific evidence to show that coffee naps will do even more for you than your afternoon espresso.
The concept of caffeine naps was initially studied by British scientists looking for a way to combat driver sleepiness. The study found that coffee followed by a short nap was the most impactful and effective in improving driver performance and almost eliminated the mid-afternoon drowsiness that other test groups experienced.
To better understand why coffee naps are such an efficient and effective way to kick-start your brain and body, we need to understand the science behind what caffeine does to our brains.
The Science of Coffee Naps
When you drink a cup of coffee, an espresso, or anything with caffeine, the caffeine moves from your small intestine into your bloodstream as you digest. After your bloodstream absorbs caffeine, it essentially gives your brain a jump-start by blocking receptors known as adenosine. This is a chemical compound in your brain that causes drowsiness.
Adenosine makes you feel drowsy and sleepy because it slows down your brain’s nerve cell activity. Therefore, when caffeine enters your body and blocks adenosine receptors, your brain’s nerve activity does the opposite of slowing down…it starts revving its engine.
This entire process of caffeine going from your small intestine to impacting your brain’s function takes about twenty minutes. The science behind coffee naps is that these twenty minutes are the perfect time to take a quick snooze. There is no need to aim for deep sleep. Instead, just close your eyes, breathe deeply, relax, and enjoy the time.
Whether you fully fall asleep, half sleep, or just doze off for the twenty minutes, the key is to close your eyes and let your body rest. Be sure to set a timer for twenty minutes because any longer than that could cause your body to go into a deeper state of sleep, making it harder to wake up. You want to ensure that you are awake when the caffeine hits your brain. This way, you get a double-dose of energy from the caffeine and from the rest you gave your body.
We would love to hear what you think of coffee naps. Be, sure to subscribe to Cody’s blog to get more healthy tips. Happy napping!