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How to power nap correctly

Years ago I read something that totally changed the way I napped. Sometimes, when I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore, I would lay down for a nap, and wake up groggy a couple of hours later. Or, I’d set an alarm for 15 minutes, supposedly the right amount of time for a power nap, and then be jolted awake and feel sleepy for an hour afterwards.

But once I learned about the “caffeine nap” I found that I could lay down for about twenty minutes and wake up totally refreshed. I’ve become a regular caffeine napper, often grabbing one before the kids get home from school.

I saw this tweet today and thought it would be a good time to explain how and why to take a caffeine nap:

Cecily's nap tweet

So, this is for Cecily and everyone else who, like me, could really use a pick-me-up in the afternoon and isn’t ready to try cocaine.

How to take a Caffeine Nap

Step 1: Drink some caffeine. I’m guessing for most of you that’s coffee (or maybe a Red Bull for Cecily?). For me it’s a Diet Dr Pepper.

Step 2: Set an alarm for 20-25 minutes from now.

Step 3: Sleep.

Here’s what should happen: caffeine takes about 15-20 minutes to start taking effect, so the goal is to have it wake you up before the alarm goes off. You’ll be waking up in stage two (out of four) in the sleep cycle, when you’re not in a really deep sleep yet. That, combined with the caffeine, should keep you from feeling groggy.

Researchers at a British sleep center found that out of all the things you can do when tired and driving, a caffeine nap was the most effective in waking you up. Keep that in mind on your next road trip when your eyelids start to droop.

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3 Responses to “How to power nap correctly”

  1. Zac on January 30th, 2012 11:07 pm

    Wow, I love drinking coffee yet I don’t know about this. I’ll try it out; hopefully it will be a lot of help for me.

  2. kim/reluctant renovator on February 3rd, 2012 1:24 am

    Hmmm. Never heard of this before, but it makes sense. I won’t need it, though. My super power is that I’m able to wake myself up after a certain amount of time as long as I look at a clock before I nap. It’s an odd gift, if you will. Especially considering that I have no sense of time during my waking hours. Speaking of which, OMG, it’s way after midnight. Why am I still awake?
    kim/reluctant renovator recently posted..Separate but Equal on the Bus Works for MeMy Profile

  3. javen21 on February 16th, 2012 8:52 am

    Is this really true? Every noon I take a nap, and you are right, you will feel groggy when you wake up. I love coffee and if this is true, I’ll be practicing drinking coffee every after eating my lunch. Thanks for this!