Here’s How to Use a Coffee Nap to Boost Your Energy Levels – CNET

You’ve probably always been told that napping will ruin your sleep at night. But what if I told you there was a way to nap without negative side effects

A coffee nap might be just what the doctor ordered if you need a mid-day boost. The concept is simple, drink a cup of coffee, nap and wake up feeling refreshed. But there’s more to it than that — you have to drink your coffee the right way and nap at the right time. 

Plus, here’s how to make sure you’re getting restful sleep, four workouts to help you sleep and how to sleep cool during a heat wave.

What exactly is a coffee nap?

A coffee nap is simple — you drink a cup (or two) of coffee and then immediately nap. It’s a practical and low-effort way to raise your energy levels during the day.

There’s some science behind coffee naps. Coffee dissolves in our blood and cell membranes, which means it can penetrate the blood-brain barrier. When caffeine enters the brain, it competes with adenosine in your brain to get to the brain cell receptors. Adenosine is the chemical neuromodulator that makes us feel tired. When adenosine makes it to the receptors, we get drowsy. 

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Caffeine doesn’t eliminate the adenosine in the brain. However, a coffee nap capitalizes on the natural drop in adenosine levels when we’re asleep. So if you drink coffee right before you nap, there is less adenosine to battle for the coveted brain receptors. Which means you will wake up feeling alert and energized. 

The studies supporting the effectiveness of coffee naps are limited. The studies available have a small sample size.

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You have to nap for the right amount of time

The nap duration is crucial for getting the most out of your coffee nap. So get your alarm ready. Your coffee nap should only be about 15 to 20 minutes for the best results. The nap shouldn’t be longer than 20 minutes; otherwise, you risk losing out on the benefits of the caffeine getting into the brain. 

Additionally, it takes around 20 minutes to get into deeper stages of sleep. Once you enter a deeper stage, waking up will likely result in disorientation and negate any positive results a coffee nap offers.  

Always proceed with caution: you can go wrong with a coffee nap. Napping too close to bed will likely disturb your sleep. Given the time it takes our bodies to break down caffeine, you should keep your coffee naps at least 6 hours before bed

Woman standing by the window, smelling her cup of coffee
<span class="credit"> Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images </span>

How you drink your coffee matters, too

If you intend to use caffeine to give you a boost after a nap, you can’t slowly drink your coffee. It’s best to drink it quickly and then get into bed before you start to feel the effects. The existing studies use approximately two cups of coffee. 

Also, it’s recommended that you drink it black and avoid the cream, milk or sugar. Added sugars or flavors may give you a sugar high, resulting in an energy crash later. 

The TL;DR version of coffee naps is: Quickly drink two cups of black coffee and sleep for approximately 20 minutes (no longer). Wake up and feel refreshed. 

For more sleep advice, check out our tips on food to eat before bed, how to fall asleep naturally and how to get more out of your night’s sleep.  

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.


By Dianne Pajo

Dianne Pajo is a writer based out of the Chicagoland area with a passion for music, combat sports, and animals. She enjoys competing in amateur boxing and kickboxing, but in her other leisure time, you can find her performing music around the city. She is also a dog mom of 2.