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What is a Coffee Nap and How Do You Take One?

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When we first heard the term coffee nap, we were a little confused. Our initial reaction was that it sounded like an extreme contradiction – caffeine and napping? I mean there are times when I think I use a nap then realise I’ve just had my fill of caffeine so what’s the point? I won’t be able to nap right? The caffeine will keep me awake and my mind buzzing. Sleep? Surely not? So we decided to explore further.

Is a coffee nap what it sounds like though? Maybe, maybe not not. Perhaps there is some sense to it. Let’s find out more including what it is, if it’s right for you and how you take one?

Ready for the clever part? Well… when you drink a coffee, the caffeine doesn’t kick in straight away. It takes around 20 minutes. You see where we’re going with this? While you’re napping the caffeine will take effect and you will wake up boosted. 

It’s important to get the timing right though. You can technically take a caffeine nap at any time. It’s better after the post lunch slump – that time of day when you are at your sleepiest (apart from bedtime of course) and you still have the afternoon of work to get through.

Be warned – don’t do it too late in the day or it could be counterintuitive – it could take as much as 10 hours for the post lunch coffee caffeine to leave your  system. If you take a caffeine nap  too late in the day, it could ruin your nights sleep.

OK, this may all sound a little clinical but if you’re willing to explore this then listen up. Prepare your coffee, then find somewhere comfortable to sit down and drink it. You may need a cushion. Do not try this at your desk, it won’t end well (waking up with a stiff neck is not what you want).

You’re going to have to drink your coffee fairly quickly. We’re not saying so fast that you get indigestion but don’t sit there and drink it leisurely for the next 15 minutes. Remember you only have 20 minutes before the caffeine kicks in next set an alarm for 15 minutes, then get comfortable.

You should wake up feeling refreshed and raring to go from the effects of the caffeine that’s now in your system.

Be aware that 15 minutes is just a rough guide. This may vary from person to person so you may have to do it one or two times before you get the timing is right.

The recommended amount of coffee to drink before a 15 minute nap is 200 mg. This is the equivalent of the amount you’re going to find in a double espresso. Of course, it very much depends on the type of coffee that you drink. If you’re an Americano fan, it’s the equivalent to a large one. You can learn more about how much caffeine is in coffee here.

You may be wondering whether this is a technique that actually works, but there is science behind it. If you take a short nap immediately after drinking coffee, you awake, feeling fresh and alert. This technique was originally explored as a way to combat drowsiness when driving the idea is you pull over you drink your coffee do you have a nap you wake up you get on the road again. We’re not saying that this is a surefire way to combat rising as when driving, but it certainly helps in a number of cases.

As long as you follow some basic principles for caffeine naps, then there is no reason why you shouldn’t try it just don’t do it too late in the day and be sure to experiment with the amount of coffee and the time that you nap for. It may take you more than a couple of tries to get it right, but it should help you feel more fresh, an alert and avoid those post lunchtime slumps .

So, if you happen to sat reading this during that post lunch slump then we guess it is highly likely that you will be considering making yourself a coffee right now and seeing if it works. Let us know how it goes.

For those of you that prefer your coffee without the caffeine, you could take a decaf coffee nap, however, you won’t get quite the same impact.

This article was written by the team at CoffeeCode, the UK’s fastest growing and most exciting coffee blog.  CoffeeCode has a focus on great coffee, inspirational design and sustainability.

© 2021 CoffeeCode


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