Last week, I read this article that said “Scientists Agree: Coffee naps are better than coffee or naps alone.” At first I thought we’d again seen a new branch in the “two great tastes that should never, ever go together” vein, like Peanut Butter Bacon Cookies or Chris Martin dating Jennifer Lawrence (ok, tastes may vary). But, no:
But here’s the trick of the coffee nap: sleeping naturally clears adenosine from the brain. 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” — and it takes around 20 minutes for the caffeine to get through your gastrointestinal tract and bloodstream anyway.
So if you nap for those 20 minutes, you’ll reduce your levels of adenosine just in time for the caffeine to kick in. The caffeine will have less adenosine to compete with, and will thereby be even more effective in making you alert.
Today, because my kid went down for a nap two hours earlier than usual (and also because she woke up three hours earlier than usual), I had not only the time for a coffee nap, I had the incentive — because she’s going to be all rested and rarin’ to go and “let’s play train-dinosaur-mall-tea party!” this afternoon. I, usually, will be like, “Let’s play couch.” Maybe the coffee nap could help.
So, I brewed some coffee. There’s a whole story here because there always is. See, I just got back from a seven-week vacation/work crew tour of the Midwest and South, and I think before I left, I also brewed a pot of coffee. And then I left. For seven weeks. The coffee pot I came back to had stuff crawling up the sides and out the top. I took some of it outside to the kiddie pool and threw it in and guess what? It wasn’t a witch, so that’s a relief. Because some of my two readers may drink coffee at my home in the future, I’m going to leave you in suspense as to whether I just burned the pot on the driveway and bought a new one or whether I cleaned it thoroughly with The Internet’s Best Friend (vineagar) and then used it again.
Coffee thus brewed, I read the instructions carefully about how I’d need to drink quickly. This was hot, strong coffee, so I added the one thing in my fridge guaranteed to make anything go down much more quickly: heavy cream. I drank the coffee as I walked back to the bedroom, kicking off my shoes as I drank for maximum nap efficiency. Coffee thus consumed, I set a timer for 20:30 and went into a half-daze nap.
At the end of twenty minutes, I woke up — and actually woke up. I didn’t have that awful post-nap muzzy feeling like usual, and I didn’t want to kill my phone alarm or its makers. I just got up, got my coffee cup, and went back to the kitchen for a refill. And then I wrote this. It’s possible that this reprogrammed my brain to function only on coffee (with heavy cream). I think maybe I don’t need water anymore. Or air. Or a job. This is the best nap stuff ever. I feel absolutely ready to take a five-question quiz, play a memory game, or spend a few productive hours playing Tower Defense.
(cross-posted to AllTheFussy.com, as I’ll probably do with most things baby-related).