Should You Take A Coffee Nap?

By Isadora Baum

What's that, right? Well, a coffee nap might actually be what you need to get through that afternoon slump. Luckily, Dr. Jennifer Stagg, a physician in Avon, Connecticut, gives us the low down on this trend, as well as how to do it right to experience the "perks."

coffee
credit: Pinterest

Basically, you drink a cup of coffee (about 100 mg to 200 mg of caffeine will do the trick), and immediately hit the hay for a 20-30 minute nap. "For health purposes, don't add sweeteners," she says. It takes about 30 minutes for the caffeine effect to kick in, so right upon waking, you'll get the full blast of alertness to be more productive and energized, she says.

There are benefits to drinking coffee and napping, independently, on performance and health, but combining them helps maximize the benefits, so you'll reap even greater rewards. Plus, it's two of your favorite things coming together. Who can argue with that, now?

coffee
credit: Pinterest

How It Works

In order to make it work, you'll need to get tired and nap immediately after drinking, and set that alarm to wake again at the right moment. So, perhaps listening to music or meditating can help soothe you into a sleep.

Plus, you might not want to do this too close to bedtime, as it'll throw off your circadian rhythms and prevent you from zoning out later in the night, she explains. (Plus, here's why you should get enough sleep at night for better health.)

"When you drink coffee it in ends up getting absorbed mostly in the stomach. It begins right away with peak levels in the bloodstream by about 20min and is completely absorbed by about 45min," says Dr. Stagg.

"Caffeine is then cleared out of your blood through an enzyme system in your liver, so depending on whether you are a slow or fast metabolizer, the time it takes to get out of your system will vary," she explains. Though, on average that 20-30 minute period is when you get the peak of awareness.

The best time to take it would be after lunch, where it's still early enough in the day and you're approaching the slump. "For people who sleep during the night (as opposed to shift workers) it is best to take a coffee nap shortly after lunch when your body is primed for napping and this will help improve afternoon performance," she says.

Who Shouldn't Have It?

Coffee naps should not be used by people who have been told by their doctors to avoid caffeine. Also, if you are sensitive to the effects of caffeine and you limit yourself to 1 cup in the morning, adding a second strong cup in the afternoon is not a good idea either, she says.

What's more, "some people have a gene, CYP 1A2, that causes them to poorly metabolize caffeine and if they consume too much they can be even at a higher risk of having a heart attack," she adds.

But, if you get the green light, and if you're going somewhere where you might be tired or need an extra boost, it can help. "If you have a boring, long task in the afternoon, like driving, studying or monotonous type of work you might want to try this. It has been shown to decrease sleepiness and improve performance," in these types of situations, says Dr. Stagg. Office nap room, anyone?

Don't Like Coffee?

And, if you don't like coffee, don't worry. You can have teas, chocolate, kombucha, or yogurts instead!