Maybe it’s the taste. Maybe it’s the smell. Maybe it’s the way it stimulates the senses. There are many reasons we love coffee, and thankfully, science encourages us to keep sipping away. Better still, coffee isn’t only for staying awake—now it is being recommended to help you nap!
It may sound counterintuitive, but according to studies in Japan and the UK, a “coffee nap” has been proven to more effectively maximize alertness than napping or drinking coffee alone. It’s a simple process: drink coffee right before taking a nap, and then sleep for 20 minutes or less.
Caffeine takes approximately 20 minutes to hit the brain, and because you are in a half-asleep state during a nap, you will wake up feeling well rested and alert, rather than with that groggy feeling you get after waking from a deeper sleep.
“Sleeping naturally clears adenosine from the brain,” Vox reports. “If you nap for longer than 15 or 20 minutes, your brain is more likely to enter deeper stages of sleep that take some time to recover from. But shorter naps generally don’t lead to this so-called “sleep inertia.”
For the most effective results, the research encourages drinking your cup of coffee quickly. That way, the caffeine won’t take effect too soon, and you’ll have enough time to sleep. You could try an espresso or ice coffee, as they’re typically consumed more quickly than a cup of regular hot coffee.
When is your favorite time of day to drink coffee? If a cup o’joe is a staple for you in the morning, you may want to start thinking about a lunchtime pick-me-up instead.