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A ‘Nappuccino’ Can Boost Alertness

For the price of a cup of coffee and 20 minutes of time, you could overcome those slothful slumps in the day and boost your mental alertness. Plus, if used consistently, this simple strategy can help make up lost hours of sleep without sacrificing weekend plans.

Enter the Nappuccino, (a.k.a. a Caff Nap): Lie down for a quick 20 minute snooze immediately after drinking a cup of coffee. That’s right, first coffee then sleep.

Scientists agree this strategy is more effective than enjoying a nap or Cup a Joe on its own.

This particular type of nap strategy is best suited when you also need a boost in mental alertness. Here’s why it works: Caffeine takes roughly 20-25 minutes to hit the bloodstream + Sleeping no longer than 15-20 minutes avoids “sleep inertia,” i.e. boosting alertness without leaving you sleepier than before.

Jim Horne, a sleep researcher and professor emeritus of psychophysiology at Loughborough University in the U.K., has done studies that show a 20-minute nap can make up for one lost hour of sleep, and Caff Naps were beneficial even when participants had trouble falling asleep.

But here is a valid tip: Timing is important. Taking a nap after 3 p.m. will make it harder to fall asleep when you need to at night.

Nappuccino Best Practices
• Drink coffee. Tea and soda generally have much less caffeine.
• Drink quickly. You want a long window of time sleeping while the caffeine is working its way to your bloodstream.
• Iced coffee/espresso is OK. If you can’t down a hot drink fast, have it on ice.
• Can’t sleep? Don’t worry, a tranquil half-sleep state is also helpful.
• Don’t oversleep. Avoid entering deeper stages of sleep so you’re awake when the caffeine boost is reaching your brain.

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