Here’s How To Take The Best Nap Of Your Life News


OR DO THEY?

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Obviously drinking coffee boosts your alertness and energy,
which is why you shouldn’t drink it too close to your
bedtime. But research seems to indicate that if you time it
properly, drinking coffee right before lying down for a
20-ish minute nap can provide you with more energy than
either a nap or coffee on its own.

One
study found that drinking about 150mg of caffeine (the
amount of caffeine in about two shots of espresso or a

short coffee from Starbucks) before taking a 15-minute
nap reduced (and sometimes eliminated) sleepiness in drivers
more effectively than just a nap or the caffeine. In another
small
study, a coffee nap was the most effective of five
different interventions when it came to reducing sleepiness
and enhancing performance on post-nap computer tasks.

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Once you know how caffeine and sleep work individually,
coffee naps actually make a lot of sense.

Once you know how caffeine and sleep work individually, coffee naps actually make a lot of sense.

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Sleeping clears our brains from adenosine,
a byproduct of brain cells’ activity that builds up
throughout the day and makes us feel sleepy, Dr. Sanjeev
Kothare, professor of neurology and director of the pediatric
sleep program at NYU Langone Medical Center, tells BuzzFeed
Health. You feel alert after a good sleep because this brain
wash (sorry) has cleared adenosine.

And then there’s coffee, which, Kothare explains, has its own
relationship with adenosine. Caffeine is an
adenosine antagonist, handily fitting into the brain’s
adenosine receptors, blocking the adenosine from getting in
there and, at least temporarily, preventing us from feeling
droopy and tired.

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So, the idea behind the coffee nap is that it combines
coffee’s adenosine blocking with sleep’s adenosine clearing.

So, the idea behind the coffee nap is that it combines coffee's adenosine blocking with sleep's adenosine clearing.

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Basically the deal is that when you drink coffee, it takes
about 20 minutes for the caffeine to reach your brain and
kick in, registered dietitian Brian St. Pierre, director of
performance nutrition at Precision Nutrition
tells BuzzFeed Health.

This means that if you take a 20-minute power nap right after
you drink the coffee, you’ll be waking up just as the
caffeine kicks in, and because adenosine has been cleared by
the nap, the caffeine doesn’t even have to compete to get
into those receptors. This might provide what Kothare calls a
“double boost.” But he says that the idea behind coffee naps
is, at the moment, a hypothesis based on what we know about
the brain’s response to caffeine, sleep, and adenosine,
rather than something that’s been directly observed in a lab
setting.

That said, St. Pierre says that “According to anecdotal and
theoretical evidence, it seems like [coffee naps] could be
more beneficial” than a nap or coffee alone.

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If you’re convinced, intrigued, or just desperate, here’s how
to execute a proper coffee nap.

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2. Get the
caffeine dose right.

Get the caffeine dose right.

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Drinking one cup (which means eight ounces, not a 32-ounce
“cup”) of coffee is the amount generally needed to impact
your energy and alertness, says St. Pierre. But some people
might need a little less or more — everyone tolerates and
metabolizes caffeine differently, so you might have to play
around with the amount to find what works for you.

If you don’t usually have an afternoon coffee, definitely
consider how the extra cup will fit into your overall daily
caffeine intake. According to the U.S. Office of Disease
Prevention and Health Promotion,
three to five cups of coffee per day isn’t thought to
cause harm to healthy adults; it’s also associated with
health benefits, like reduced risk of type 2 diabetes,
cardiovascular disease, and Parkinson’s disease. On the other
hand, too much caffeine can make you feel terrible —
jittery, restless, irritable, etc.

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3. Consider
drinking espresso instead of brewed coffee.

Consider drinking espresso instead of brewed coffee.

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Let’s say you take about 20 minutes to sip your mug of hot
coffee. Now you’re settling in for your nap as the caffeine
is starting to kick in. Plus, IDK about you but in my
experience falling asleep with a bladder full of coffee is a
total nonstarter.

That’s why the best way to get your pre-nap coffee is to have
a couple shots of espresso, says St. Pierre. It’s just way
less liquid to get through before you can start your nap. If
espresso isn’t available, consider iced coffee, which at
least lets you get it down faster.

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4. Nap for
no more than 20 minutes.

Nap for no more than 20 minutes.

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When it comes to the afternoon power nap, you really want to
wake up before your body goes into deep sleep.

Basically, sleep happens in cycles and each cycle has

five stages. During the first couple stages you’re
basically starting the transition from being awake to light
sleep. If you sleep for too long you’ll be trying to wake up
once stages three or four have started, which means you’ll
wake up feeling groggy and disoriented, rather than refreshed
and alert. If your nap is about 20 minutes, it should be long
enough to get you at least five minutes of stage two sleep —
the minimum amount Kothare recommends for afternoon naps —
but not long enough that you’ll fall into deep sleep.

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