The Sanatio Blog

Health Check: what are coffee naps and can they help you power through the day?

Health Check: what are ‘coffee naps’ and can they help you power through the day?

Coffee naps

Caffeine and napping have something in common. Both make you feel alert and can enhance your performance, whether that’s driving, working or studying. But some people are convinced that drinking a coffee before a nap gives you an extra zap of energy when you wake up.

How could that be? Is there any evidence to back the power of these so-called coffee naps? Or are we better off getting a good night’s sleep?

Feeling sleepy?

If you don’t get enough sleep, you incur what researchers call a sleep debt. You can build up a sleep debt without realising it, on purpose or when you feel you have no other option, like to meet work or other deadlines.

Taking a nap is a common way of overcoming your sleepiness and repaying your sleep debt. Drinking coffee can also help us get through the day. And since the 1990s, researchers have been studying how combining the two might help.

In a 1997 study, 12 sleep-deprived people drank the equivalent of one large cup of brewed coffee and five minutes later had the chance to nap for 15 minutes. They then did some driving tests in a simulator to check their alertness.

Although drinking a coffee (without a nap) helped their driving performance, combining caffeine with a nap (a coffee nap) improved it even further. People who took a coffee nap were less likely to drift out of their lanes on a two hour monotonous simulated drive, compared to when they just drank a coffee (and had no nap) or when they had a decaffeinated coffee (and without a nap).

A coffee nap even helped performance if people dozed during their nap time rather than falling into a deeper sleep. A coffee nap also reduced sleepiness once people got up, with people remaining alert for a couple of hours.

However, this early, small study raised many questions. For instance, we don’t know how much coffee the people in the study were used to drinking or if they were what researchers call caffeine-naive and so more likely to experience a greater caffeine “hit”.

How might coffee naps work?

To understand how a coffee nap might work, we need to look at how the body processes caffeine. When you drink a coffee, the caffeine stays in the stomach for a while before moving to the small intestine. It is from here that caffeine is absorbed and distributed throughout the body. This process, from drinking to absorption, takes 45 minutes.

But caffeine’s alerting effect kicks in sooner, about 30 minutes after drinking. So, drinking a coffee just before a short nap of less than 15 minutes doesn’t affect the nap as your body hasn’t yet experienced the caffeine hit.

Once you wake up from your nap, not only do you experience the hit, your body feels the effects of the caffeine hours later. Although caffeine is broken down in the liver, half of it remains in the blood for 4-5 hours after drinking a moderate amount (equivalent to two large cups of brewed coffee). It takes more time to eliminate greater amounts of caffeine from the body.

It is this caffeine hit after you wake up and the “long tail” of caffeine in your body that helps you power through the day.

­

But if you mis-time your nap, for instance taking it after the caffeine hit and not before, this will mess up your sleep and your performance. This can happen if you wait too long after drinking your coffee before taking your nap.

How much coffee is safe?

While there’s evidence that coffee naps work, are they safe?

If we consider caffeine consumption, doses of 300-500mg a day (equivalent to 2-3 large cups of brewed coffee) seem safe, as about 70% of caffeine is converted into paraxanthine, which has no apparent toxic effects.

But drinking too much caffeine (more than 500mg a day) can produce symptoms of nervousness, anxiety, irritability, and body effects of restlessness, palpitation, agitation, chills, tremors and increased urine flow.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand says 95mg of caffeine a day (about two cans of cola) in children aged 5-12, and 210mg a day (about three cups of instant coffee) in adults increase anxiety levels.

It’s easy to consume more caffeine than we need. Drinks containing caffeine are on our supermarket shelves (such as Red Bull and V energy drinks) and in over-the-counter medicines (such as Panadol Extra). You can keep an eye on your caffeine intake by checking the caffeine content of common drinks, foods and medicines.

If you are drinking too much caffeine and want to stop, withdrawal can cause headache, sleepiness and decreased alertness. So, given the addictive properties of caffeine, “caffeine use disorder” has been classified as “a condition for further study” in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

Are coffee naps the best way to pay back sleep debt?

While coffee naps will power you for a couple of hours, they’re not the best way to pay back your sleep debt.

Getting enough sleep on most days is a better solution for alertness, performance and productivity. That’s because sleeping is vital for a range of brain and body functions.

Getting enough sleep also reduces your risk of a car accident, weight gain, obesity, diabetes and depression.

Health Check: what are ‘coffee naps’ and can they help you power through the day?  April 3, 2017 1.59pm AEST

Follow us on instagram

  • Navigating your way after a PCOS diagnosis can be overwhelming! 🎐PCOS is the most common hormone condition in women. 🎐It is estimated 12-18% of the female population.
🎐This is huge. If you have recently been diagnosed or suspicious something is up with your body. 🎐Get in contact and we can work together to understand what’s going on and the best approach to get you back to balance ❣️
PCOS is not as scary as a google search will lead you to believe Lx .
.
.
.
.
.
.
 #wellnessjourney #iamwellandgood #holisticwellness #mindbodygreen #holistichealth #holisticliving #holisticlifestyle #mindfulliving #intuitiveliving #mindbodyspirit #healthmatters #holisticmedicine #mindbodygram #selfloveclub #naturalhealth #greenlifestyle #healthyhappylife #PCO #PCOS #Naturopath #pcosweightloss #pcos #pcosfighter #pcosdiet
  • Wellness Wednesday. Feeling well isn’t eating a salad and feeling unwell isn’t a chocolate. It’s what you consistently do. What simple things do you do that help you feel balanced? For me, I am aiming to mediate each day, I may not be great but I’m getting better and I feel calm 💆🏼‍♀️
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
 #wellnessjourney #iamwellandgood #holisticwellness #holisticliving #mindbodygreen #holisticlifestyle #mindfulliving #holistichealth #intuitiveliving #mindbodyspirit #healthmatters #holisticmedicine #spirituality #spiritualgrowth #highvibration #spiritualgangsta #verilymoment #theartofslowliving #seekthesimplicity #littlestoriesofmylife #aquietstyle #livethelittlethings #manifest #manifesting #manifestation #raiseyourvibration #highvibes #healthymindset #theuniversehasyourback #manifestyourdreams
  • It’s Monday.
I’m feeling motivated! Like I could climb a mountain and stand with awkward hands 💁🏼‍♀️🤦🏼‍♀️ Website updated, notes to clients done and studying up on adrenal exhaustion. What mountains are you climbing Monday... 🏔?
.
.
.
.
.
 #manifest #manifesting #manifestation #earthofficial #earthfocus #nature_perfection #wellnessjourney #holisticwellness #iamwellandgood #mindbodygreen #holistichealth #holisticliving #holisticlifestyle #mindfulliving
  • I’m preempting the end of winter and thinking how else you can stay healthy, stay cool and stay loaded with vegetables 🥒🥝🥦🍐
⠀⠀
If you’re working on adding greens to your diet I’ve found that smoothies and smoothie popsicles like this one are GREAT for starting out. Many wouldn’t touch a plateful of spinach but will happily enjoy it when it’s used to color a lime popsicle. Everyone expects a lime popsicle to be green, right? ⠀⠀
Ingredients:
⠀⠀
1 1/2 cups pineapple (fresh or frozen)
1/2 banana
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/2-1 cup spinach
Zest and juice of 1 lime
⠀⠀
Directions:
⠀⠀
Puree all ingredients in a blender until completely smooth. Pour into your favorite popsicle mold and freeze 3-4 hours, or until completely solid. Makes 5-6 popsicles. .
.
.
.
.
.
 #foodblogger #foodblogfeed #foodiechats #wellnessjourney #iamwellandgood #mindbodygreen #holisticwellness #holistichealth #holisticlifestyle #mindfulliving #holisticliving #foodblog #truecooks #foodlover #fooddiary #foodart #foodoftheday #foodography #foodaddict #eatwell #healthyfood #healthyeating #vegan #plantbaseddiet #healthylifestyle #healthydiet #healthymeal #veganlife #eattherainbow #eatclean
  • Do you ever have an eye opening moment, when you realize your harshest critic... is you?! I saw a TCM practitioner today to invest in my health 🙌🏾
Permission to relax. Permission to rest when tired. To eat what my body and soul asks. 
I left feeling so good! Aware of the unnecessary pressure I put on myself, how at times I create my own stress. 
I’ve had a big horrible 12 months and it’s ok and very needed, to take time out to heal. 
What do you need to let go of?
Maybe tomorrow you wake up exhausted, can the gym wait? 
It’s a big week, do you need back to back meetings or crazy deadlines?
Do you not have the energy for a full face of make up and a night out, would laying in the sun with your bestie be enough?
⠀⠀
It’s not about making excuses and being lazy. It’s listening to your body, slowing down when you need and resting when tired. .
.
.
.
.
.
.
 #wellnessjourney #iamwellandgood #holisticwellness #holistichealth #holisticliving #mindfulliving #holisticlifestyle #mindbodyspirit #mindbodygreen #spirituality #spiritualgrowth #verilymoment #theartofslowliving #seekthesimplicity #littlestoriesofmylife #aquietstyle #livethelittlethings #intuitiveliving #healthmatters #holisticmedicine #nourishyourself #mindbodygram #naturalhealth #selfloveclub
  • Do you juice or blend? I’m a more a blend kinda gal. ⠀⠀
I rather this, as it keeps the fibrous parts/fiber in. 
With naturally occurring fruits it’s good to balance out the blood sugar with fiber. I find this keeps my body happier than a juice. I also add cinnamon and hemp oil as well. ⠀⠀
What are you sneaky smoothie additions? Macca powder? Açaí? Spirilina? Almond meal? Matcha?
.
.
.
.
.
#matcha
 #healthyfood #healthyeating #vegan #plantbaseddiet #healthylifestyle #healthydiet #healthymeal #namaste #asana #greensmoothie #juicing #greentea