The fast answer to your midday drowsiness

By Stacy Knoderer, Staff Writer

Having a hard time staying awake throughout the day and usually looking to a cup of coffee for a pick-me-up? Then maybe the caffeine nap is for you.

A caffeine nap is a 20 minute nap that follows the drinking of a cup of coffee. Unsure if it will work? Here is what the research says.

“Though it sounds paradoxical, scientific evidence suggests that consuming caffeine just before taking a short siesta does a better job of restoring your alertness than does simply having a cup of coffee or tea or taking a nap without a caffeine appetizer,” Jacqueline Howard wrote in The Huffington Post.

The reason the caffeine nap is said to be so effective is because of the adenosine molecule in the brain, according to University Herald reporter, J. Baulkman.

Adenosine is what makes us sleepy. By taking a 20 minute nap after drinking caffeine, the drowsiness caused by adenosine is said to subside. This is because caffeine is in the body’s system, Baulkman explained.

Any more than 20 minutes and the nap will be ineffective.

“Caffeine’s alertness-boosting effect typically peaks about 30 minutes after the stimulant is consumed,” Howard wrote in Huffington Post.

By only sleeping for 20 minutes, the level of adenosine is no longer as high. The caffeine then kicks in and overpowers the drowsiness, allowing for the caffeine nap to work its magic.

Still sounds hoaxy? I, along with three of my friends, put it to the test to see what would happen.

After I went ahead and tried out the caffeine nap for myself, I had mixed reactions. I found that I felt very alert – almost too alert. I had a bit of a hard time focusing right after the nap.

When I took the caffeine nap I was not overly tired, so this could be part of the reason why it did not work properly for me. Despite my reaction to the nap, I do believe that it can still be effective if the person taking the nap is tired enough.

The other three girls that participated in the caffeine nap had varied reactions.

“After trying the caffeine nap, I felt pretty well rested. I didn’t fall asleep, but I still feel like it was effective, especially if I don’t have time for a longer nap,” Lindsay Miller, senior education major, said.

Chrissy Michaels, senior criminal justice major, also shared her experience with the caffeine nap. “I slept well, but I was not fully recharged for the day. I was still tired afterwards.”

Kelsey Vihnanek, a senior nursing major, participated in the caffeine nap as well, and shared her experience.

“I felt like the caffeine nap made me less productive. After drinking the coffee, I felt really energized, but after trying to nap, I just wanted to stay in bed. I think the idea would have worked better if I was totally exhausted in the first place.”

Looking at our findings, each of us reacted a little differently to the caffeine nap. In general, the majority of us did not find it to be highly effective.

While it was not a huge success for my friends and me, the research does show that it is effective. So, if you are a coffee lover and enjoy naps, go ahead and try out the caffeine nap and see what happens. It may work better for you!

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