I’m not ashamed to say that coffee is essentially the battery that keeps me powered up, helping me stay alert and focused throughout the day. Most afternoons, I find myself going for that third cup to cross the finish line on my work for the day. Some days, however, it’s hit or miss whether it really gives me the extra energy boost I need. However, I recently learned that drinking coffee before taking a short nap could be the key to making this pick-me-up more effective.
What is a coffee nap — a.k.a. a stimulant nap?
Drinking caffeine before a nap might sound odd, because it’s a stimulant that’s meant to keep you awake and alert. But a stimulant nap or “coffee nap” is actually a popular trend. It’s been coined as a “nappuccino” by author Daniel H. Pink in his 2019 book When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing (Buy on Amazon, $9.89). Thye Schuyler, MD, from the Salem Health Sleep Center explains how a coffee nap can be effective for boosting your energy in the middle of the day.
“The longer a person naps, the more likely they are to experience sleep inertia, which is that feeling of grogginess that’s hard to shake off,” he says. “When consumed before the nap, coffee kicks in just as you wake up, helping knock out sleep inertia and giving a ‘double whammy’ wakefulness effect.”
Essentially, the effects of the coffee aren’t immediate and caffeine won’t kick in until you wake up — so there’s no need to worry that you’ll have trouble falling asleep. However, Dr. Schuyler doesn’t recommend this method for people with heartburn or those who can’t consume coffee for medical reasons. Why? A coffee nap can exacerbate acid reflux and heartburn flare-ups. Chat with your doctor before trying this, just to double check that it will work for you.
How do you take a coffee nap?
Taking a coffee nap is easier than you might think. According to Dr. Schuyler, all you need to do is follow these simple steps to ensure that you wake up feeling refreshed.
- Find a spot in your home that’s dark, comfortable, and quiet enough to rest at around two or three in the afternoon.
- Drink a four to six ounce cup of hot or iced coffee relatively quickly over a few minutes. (We recommend Eight O’Clock Ground Coffee for a delicious, full-flavor experience, but any brand will do.)
- Set your alarm for 25 minutes and lie down immediately. It might take about seven to 10 minutes to fall asleep, so you will have slept for about 15 to 18 minutes (the ideal nap length). Since it takes about 25 to 30 minutes for coffee to enter your bloodstream, the caffeine should be kicking in just as you wake up.
After taking a nappuccino, you should find yourself energized and recharged. If you’re like me, this means finishing the day’s tasks like grocery shopping and cooking dinner with a lot more pep in your step.
This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.
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