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How to Take a Caffeine Nap: A Definitive Guide for 2021

Most people don’t associate caffeine with good sleep. After all, caffeine is a stimulant and it’s often used to help you recover from a bad night’s sleep.

In fact, one study even recommends caffeine tablets for military use as a means to counter the effects of fragmented sleep.

So, drinking it before going to sleep has a negative effect on your sleep, right?

Not necessarily. The caffeine nap has become a popular method of boosting your energy levels. This article, which we’ve updated for 2021, examines what it involves, how to do it, and the science behind the technique.

Table of Contents

What is it?
How Does It Work?
What Does the Science Say?
The Final Word

What is it?

Many people take naps to give themselves quick energy boosts during the day. But adding coffee to the mix changes how your body reacts to the nap.

Caffeine Nap

This type of nap involves ingesting caffeine, typically from coffee or a caffeine tablet, and then going to sleep for about 20 minutes. There are three key stages to follow.

How to take a coffee nap:

  1. Find a comfortable place to sleep. You don’t want anybody to disturb you during the nap, else you’ won’t experience the full benefits.
  2. Ingest some caffeine. Some recommend taking 200mg, which is the amount used in several studies. But you can experiment until you find the right level for you.
  3. Sleep for no more than 20 minutes. Set an alarm to ensure you don’t oversleep. If you go past that 20-minute marker, you may miss out on the benefits that this napping technique offers.

How Does It Work?

It all comes down to how caffeine affects your body once it’s in your system. It goes on a journey through your small intestine, where it gets absorbed into your bloodstream. Once there, it travels through your body until it reaches your brain.

Once there, it slots perfectly into the receptors that usually contain the adenosine compound. Adenosine causes the tired feeling that guides you toward sleep. Replacing it with caffeine usually makes you alert again, while sleep removes the adenosine from your receptors.

Here’s the trick. It takes 20 minutes for caffeine to reach your brain, which is precisely how long you should sleep when taking this type of nap.

The nap clears out more of the adenosine, which allows more of the caffeine to enter your receptors. Furthermore, only sleeping for 20 minutes usually means that your body doesn’t enter deep sleep. As a result, it’s not too difficult to wake up from the nap.

coffee nap

After 20 minutes of napping, you’ve cleared some adenosine just in time for the caffeine you consumed to reach your brain. This means you get a double boost when you wake up. There’s less adenosine to make you feel tired and more caffeine to help you feel alert.

What Does the Science Say?

Initial research into the caffeine nap took place in 1997. A study published in the Psychophysiology Journal examined the effects of caffeine and a nap on 12 people. It found that mid-afternoon “peaks” of tiredness become significantly lower when using the technique.

A later study tested the technique against other forms of napping. Researchers tested the results of caffeine naps against naps followed by either exposure to bright light or washing your face. It concluded that taking a nap after ingesting 200mg of caffeine was more effective than taking a regular nap, followed by bright light exposure or face washing.

How to Take a Caffeine Nap

You can take a coffee nap in the morning, mid-day, or afternoon. It’s not a good idea to take one later in the day as it may be hard to fall asleep at night.

The Final Word

Caffeine and a nap isn’t as crazy as it sounds. You just need to know the secrets behind the technique to get the right results.

Continue to not consume caffeine before going to bed. You don’t want it to mess with your deep sleep periods. However, consider consuming caffeine before taking short naps.

The combination of adding caffeine to your system while eliminating adenosine from your brain’s receptors gives you an energy boost when you wake up. You’ll feel more productive and will shake those mid-afternoon cobwebs.