The surprising secret to taking a refreshing power nap
The disco nap has long been the go-to for anyone needing just a few extra minutes of shut eye to power through jet lag, refresh before a big night on the town or keep going after pulling an all-nighter. And while taking a short 30 minute siesta is great in theory, in real life, there are a few potential problems - like forgetting to set the alarm and sleeping for hours instead of minutes, or falling into a really deep sleep which leaves you feeling even foggier than before hitting the snooze button. And with evidence mounting that lack of sleep is often to blame for horrific car accidents and serious medical errors by chronically overtired staff - science has come up with the formula for the ultimate power nap.
Various studies suggest that drinking a caffeinated beverage like coffee just before taking a short (no more than 30 minute) nap is the best option to significantly reboot your batteries if you're short on time. It's better than taking a longer snooze or taking a nap without having caffeine first. One study looked at ways to counter drowsiness for tired drivers and found the "...caffeine and nap significantly reduced driving impairments, subjective sleepiness and EEG activity indicating drowsiness... and taking just a break (with no sleep) proved ineffective."
It sounds pretty counter-intuitive to drink a stimulant before taking a rest but that's the genius of it. Apparently the average time it takes for caffeine to kick in is around 30 minutes, so if you take a power nap straight after your cup of Joe, set your alarm for 30 minutes (or less if you know caffeine hits you faster) and presto, you'll wake up seriously refreshed. Obviously the caffeine-powered nap doesn't replace a solid nine hours of snooze time but if you're overtired and need a mini refresh, science says yes to the caffeinated disco nap.
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