A coffee nap is when you drink coffee right before you take a quick nap. It is great for when you’re feeling sleepy during the day and have a spare twenty minutes! The really interesting thing about this is studies have shown that doing this is more effective than taking a nap or drinking coffee separately! We’ve discussed other benefits of drinking coffee but didn’t think there would be a benefit to napping!

So, how does this work? 

We need to understand the timing of both napping and caffeine absorption in the body. According to Smithsonian Magazine:

Soon after you drink (or eat) something containing caffeine, it’s absorbed through the small intestine and dissolved into the bloodstream. Because the chemical is both water- and fat-soluble (meaning that it can dissolve in water-based solutions—think blood—as well as fat-based substances, such as our cell membranes), it’s able to penetrate the blood-brain barrier and enter the brain.

This process takes about 20 minutes. 

Now, let’s look at the science of naps. According to Amerisleep:

“…Adenosine…is a chemical neuromodulator which when accumulated in high quantities makes the body feel tired. Naps naturally clear adenosine from the brain.”

Why is the 20 minute nap threshold important? According to Vox.com:

sleeping naturally clears adenosine from the brain. If you nap for longer than 15 or 20 minutes, your brain is more likely to enter deeper stages of sleep that take some time to recover from. But shorter naps generally don’t lead to this so-called “sleep inertia”

So, if we put these 2 things together, when you nap for 20 minutes after drinking your coffee, you are effectively clearing adenosine from the brain and giving you a caffeine boost all at once! 

How do you take a coffee nap?

This is pretty straightforward. You quickly drink a cup of coffee or any other caffeinated beverage. Once you do, lay down and try to go to sleep. Set a timer for 20 minutes. Once your timer goes off, get up right away to make sure your body doesn’t enter a deeper state of sleep. This way you wake up as soon as the caffeine starts to hit your brain. It’s that simple!  

What are some of the benefits of a coffee nap?

According to Amerisleep:

While there have only been a few studies on this subject with small sample sizes, they all point to the fact that coffee naps are effective.

study in 12 sleep individuals indicates that participants who took 200 mg of caffeine followed by a 15-minute nap before being placed in a driving simulator for two hours felt 91 percent less sleepy behind the wheel than those who didn’t have caffeine and a nap. This holds true even if they didn’t sleep during their nap period, and just laid there half-asleep.

Another study in 10 young healthy adults showed that caffeine and improved performance in computer tasks than just a nap, a nap followed by exposure to bright light, a nap followed by face washing, or no nap at all.

So, try this for yourself. Leave comments below to let us know if this was effective for you.