Pages Navigation Menu
Categories Navigation Menu

Life Hacks — Exhausted? Recharge Your Brain Quicker With A Coffee Power Nap [Study]

coffee nap, coffee power nap, caffeine nap, caffeine, how caffeine works, how coffee works, caffeine and adenosine, adenosine, coffee, caffeine adenosine, coffee before nap, caffeine power nap

Dead from a horrible night’s sleep? Stuck crashing at work with mind-numbing fatigue, heavy eyelids, and non-existent focus? Exhausted after a ridiculous HIIT workout?

Don’t feel bad, you’re not alone. But definitely do something to combat it.

Your move — recharge your brain faster and zone in with a coffee power nap.

But what the hell is a coffee nap? A “coffee power nap” or “caffeine nap” is a way-too-easy 2-step process that requires you to (1) down a cup of coffee → (2) immediately power nap for 15-20 minutes. And voila, you’re done. I adore both of those things, so I’m confident you’ll gladly indulge.

The result is magical. You’ll wake up refreshed and reinvigorated with a double shot of energy/alertness, sans any of the inertia or sluggishness from oversleeping.

And there’s actual science to make sense of it. Because on the surface it seems to be uber-paradoxical and counterintuitive. Shouldn’t downing a cup of coffee keep you up? Not if you do it right.

Here’s how the coffee nap goes down.


 

Your Brain On Coffee — How The Coffee Nap Works


 

If you only remember one thing about caffeine, remember its relationship with a little thing called adenosine.

Adenosine is a molecule that accumulates throughout the day—as a waste product from thinking/moving/generally doing anything—and plugs into receptors in the brain. Once adenosine hits high enough levels and binds to those receptors, you fatigue, become tired, and eventually fall asleep.

↑ Adenosine = ↑ Drowsiness

Caffeine is unique—but also similar—in that it fits into the same receptors as adenosine. When caffeine is absorbed, it enters the bloodstream and eventually gets into the brain. That process takes roughly 20 minutes, which is why the effects aren’t immediate.

It’s also why you’re able to chug a cup of coffee AND instantly fall asleep.

Because caffeine shares the same receptors (think of them as outlet sockets), it actively plugs some of those holes and blocks adenosine from sucking all of your energy away. Not only does that reduce tiredness, but it also speeds up neuron firing and provides a bonus spark of energy.

And napping? Sleeping naturally clears adenosine and refreshes the body.

That equates to a DOUBLE BOOST. Just remember to power nap immediately for 15-20 minutes. MAX. That 20 minute window is the sweet spot, otherwise you risk breaking deeper stages of sleep and exiting in a zombie-like stupor.

I’ve randomly noticed this phenomenon before, which has always struck me as bizarre and completely counterintuitive. But magically, there are 3 published studies that specifically test and support the power of the coffee power nap (no seriously, there are).123

Is this iron-clad scientific proof? Of course not. But nonetheless, it’s a cool little mind hack that effortlessly takes advantage of your brain’s chemistry.

Give it a shot. FOR SCIENCE.

Bryan DiSanto

Bryan DiSanto

Founder & Editor-in-Chief at Lean It UP
ELLO ELLO I'm Bryan DiSanto. I'm the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Lean It UP, a CPT/CSN/Fitness Coach, Chef trained at Le Cordon Bleu – Paris, NYU graduate, ex-fat kid, and all-around fitness junkie.

I also contribute to Men's Health Magazine.

When I'm not working on my abs (or somebody else’s), whipping up avocado roses and avocado toast, or running a Tough Mudder, I'm probably yelling at a Carolina Panthers game somewhere.

Come be friends with me on Snapchat (BRYDISANTO).
Bryan DiSanto
Follow Lean It UP on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest for real-time fitness/nutrition tips, advice, info and updates.

[instagramy name=leanitup style=default info_pos=top info_layout=1 shape=square size=70 media=10 layout=grid link=file columns=5 speed=3000 effect=blindX window= 1 logo= 1 info= 1 ] 
 

References, Notes, Links

  1. Horne JA, Reyner LA. Counteracting driver sleepiness: effects of napping, caffeine, and placebo. Psychophysiology. 1996 May;33(3):306-9. []
  2. Reyner LA, Horne JA. Suppression of sleepiness in drivers: combination of caffeine with a short nap. Psychophysiology. 1997 Nov;34(6):721-5. []
  3. Mitsuo Hayashi,, Akiko Masuda, Tadao Hori. The alerting effects of caffeine, bright light and face washing after a short daytime nap. Clinical Neurophysiology. Volume 114, Issue 12, December 2003, Pages 2268–2278. []