Have you heard of the “coffee nap”? Seems to be all the rage around the internet, or at least it was about two or three weeks ago. I live up here in Vermont, and sometimes things can take a bit to get to us. I’m still trying to get used to indoor plumbing.
We’ve all had a cuppa coffee or other form of caffeine to help keep us awake. Right? Can’t be just me…well, come to find out, the best way to make the most of your caffeine intake is to take a 15-20 minute nap immediately after drinking the caffeine. I’ve tried it. Seriously; just about any excuse or chance to take a nap? I’m in.
I have found, independently, that i do indeed feel better and more awake if after a short nap if i have had a cuppa joe right before dozing off. The article linked here explains it much better than i possibly can, at least verbally. I’ve put together a short VLOG to help explain the whole receptor concept. After reading the explanation please click here to watch my version of why it works.
In the mean time, I’ll be brewing a dark roast and curling up in the Autumn sun.
“A study conducted at Loughborough University demonstrated that the “Coffee Nap,” which consists of a strong cup of coffee followed by at 15-20 minute sleep period, is more effective in increasing levels of alertness than either coffee or sleep alone. The study was published almost 20 years ago, but has recently hit the headlines again.”
“Coffee nap advocates however, claim that when caffeine is consumed immediately before sleeping, and if the sleep time is less than 20 minutes long, the result is that the sleeper wakes up with a higher level of alertness than is achievable with either caffeine or sleeping alone.”
“When a person sleeps, adenosine is cleared from the brain, thus rendering the receptors that it was filling available again. When sleep lasts for longer than 15 to 20 minutes, deeper stages are obtained, so sleeping longer and deeper means that it will take more arousal to recover from the effects of sleep.”
“Caffeine takes around 20 minutes to be absorbed, move through the small intestine and pass into the bloodstream where it is eventually transported to the brain. Once in the brain, it interacts with the receptors which are usually filled with adenosine, a neuromodulator that induces sleepiness. Caffeine is both water-soluble and fat-soluble and is therefore able to penetrate the blood-brain barrier. Because it is structurally similar to adenosine, it is able to fit into the receptors which adenosine would usually fill.
Adenosine, when blocked, cannot induce the feeling of tiredness that it usually does. This is how caffeine increases alertness, by blocking adenosine and therefore inhibiting drowsiness. In addition to this, some of the other stimulants in the brain can work better when adenosine is inhibited, therefore levels of arousal are further increased.”
For a more in depth explanation about where adenosine is produced, feel free to read this article from McGill University. Interestingly, you can change the “level of explanation” by using the button near the top left, just above the article itself. Pretty clever, McGill!