What are coffee naps?

Coffee and naps don’t exactly sound like a good pair; after all, isn’t the point of coffee to not sleep or nap? Surprisingly, a coffee nap, if one can take advantage of it, is very effective and simple. All that’s done is drinking a cup of coffee and napping for around 30 minutes. How? First, let’s understand what adenosine is. Adenosine is a degradation of ATP (packaged energy produced by mitochondria), so it builds up while one is awake and binds to neuroreceptors in the brain. This will start to make us feel tired. Caffeine is structurally similar to adenosine, so it also binds to neuroreceptors in the brain; blocking adenosine will prevent you from feeling sleepier.

However, caffeine also must compete with adenosine for neuroreceptor access, so it’s less effective the more adenosine there is. Also, since caffeine only blocks adenosine, as it becomes fully metabolized, a surge of adenosine can hit, causing the notorious caffeine crash. However, sleep clears adenosine, causing its levels to drop. This is what makes a coffee nap work; the less adenosine there is for caffeine to compete with, the more effective it will be at making you feel alert and delaying tiredness (and you won’t feel as drowsy when waking from the nap).

Obviously, a coffee nap isn’t ideal for everybody, especially those who can’t just nap in the middle of the day, even if they felt like it. Mike himself rarely naps, so I can’t imagine him doing a coffee nap. Though I don’t nap often, I do go to sleep quite easily if I want to, so I’ll see just how effective this coffee nap is. There are additional factors affecting coffee naps, such as how caffeine metabolism; if someone metabolizes it too fast, a coffee nap’s benefits drop or are nonexistent.

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