Why a Coffee Power Nap Works
by Anne Marie Helmenstine Ph.D./Thought.co
You’re tired, but you don’t have time to really sleep. Rather than taking a power nap or grabbing a cup of coffee, try taking a coffee power nap. Here’s what a coffee power nap is and why it actually leaves you feeling more refreshed and awake than either a power nap or a cup of coffee or even a nap followed by coffee.
You know what coffee is, but it might be helpful to review the power nap concept. A power nap is a short nap (15-20 minutes) that takes you into stage 2 sleep. It’s just long enough to stave off some of the worst effects of sleep deprivation or exhaustion, but not so long that it drags you into slow wave sleep (SLS) or deep sleep, which would leave you feeling groggy if you ended it too soon (sleep inertia). Research has shown that even a 6-10 minute nap helps improve concentration, alertness, motor performance, and learning, while a 30 minute nap confers the benefits of a full sleep cycle, markedly reducing fatigue and reversing much of the physiological damage of sleep deprivation.
A coffee power nap or caffeine power nap is when you drink coffee or a caffeinated beverage right before settling down for your nap.
The short explanation is that it takes about 20 minutes for caffeine to jolt your system and 45 minutes before it reaches maximum effect. So, the caffeine doesn’t keep you from falling asleep, but it’s there to boost your performance the minute you wake up.