Whether you were studying for a big test, working a long shift, or just binging your way through a movie marathon, we’ve all had to force ourselves to stay awake at one time or another. Go-to strategies might be downing cups of coffee or taking power naps, but research indicates a combination of the two might be the most effective option.
A cup of coffee or tea, followed by a short nap, also known as a “caff-nap”, is a winning combo for an energy boost. Drinking caffeine helps eliminate the grogginess many people complain of when napping, but getting some shut-eye in the 20 to 30 minutes it takes for the caffeine to kick in will give your body the rest it’s craving.
To test this new method, scientists from the University of South Australia gave participants either a 200 mg dose of caffeine or a placebo in the middle of the night and asked them to take a 30-minute nap. When participants were monitored for the 45 minutes after waking up, those who had consumed caffeine before sleep showed overall better alertness and attention than the placebo group.
So why not just drink more caffeine? Multiple cups of coffee might keep you awake, but it can also mess with your sleep cycle and make it harder to get a full night’s rest. This dangerous cycle can lead to constant fatigue, which only gets worse the more caffeine you consume.
For shift workers and other people who work under untraditional sleep schedules, caff-naps might be just the key to making it through a long workday. If you’re feeling groggy today as we head back into the workweek, try a caff-nap this afternoon and see if the method works for you!