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March 11, 2019
Drinking coffee before a nap may seem contradictory and unreasonable. However, caffeine enthusiasts and scientific researchers recommend the habit to boost energy levels.
A coffee nap is exactly what it sounds like: the act of drinking coffee before sleeping for a brief period. This unconventional way of consuming caffeine is thought to boost energy levels by blocking adenosine, a chemical that promotes sleep. When you feel weak and tired, adenosine flows through your body in significant amounts. The second you fall asleep, your adenosine levels drop.
Caffeine competes with adenosine for receptors in your brain. In a nutshell, caffeine does not decrease adenosine in your body as sleep does. It instead prevents your brain from receiving adenosine, which make you feel less sluggish and slumberous. Napping may enhance the effects of coffee by increasing the availability of receptors for caffeine in your brain.
According to a Japanese study, people who took caffeinated naps before undergoing a series of memory tests performed better compared to others who: (1) only took a nap, (2) took a nap and then splashed their faces with water, (3) took a nap then had a bright light shone in their eyes. Those who took coffee naps also reported feeling less tired.
More evidence shows that caffeine naps can help people stay awake longer without proper sleep. In one study, 24 young men went 24 hours without proper sleep, taking only short naps in between. Twelve of them were given just a placebo and performed worse on a series of cognition tests that were compared with their baseline scores. Twelve others, who had caffeine before their naps, produced scores almost the same as their baselines for the entire day.
If you made it this far into the blog, then you must be interested in testing the effectiveness of a caffeine nap. How to do it is pretty straightforward.
The first and most important step is to drink hot or iced coffee—not tea or energy drinks. Most experts agree that the best way to take a coffee nap is to consume a caffeinated beverage approximately 15 to 20 minutes before you sleep. This timing is proposed because it takes about that long for caffeine to affect the body. Further research suggests that 200 mg of caffeine (about two cups) is the relative amount you need to feel more alert and energized after napping. Finally, wake up within 20 minutes to avoid entering the deeper stages of sleep and so you are awake when the caffeine stimulates your brain for increased performance.
Coffee naps are worth a shot as long as you don’t go overboard with your caffeine consumption. Why not try taking a caffeinated nap to celebrate Napping Day? Napping Day is a fun and unofficial holiday that falls on a Monday after Daylight Savings Time (DST) begins in the United States. Also, butter in your coffee? It’s a real thing.