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Seeing as this blog recently featured in The Top 50 Productivity Blogs (yeah, yeah) I’d better get posting a few more productivity hints and tips!

I first came across the idea of a ‘caffeine nap’ on Lifehacker a couple of years ago. The premise is simple:

HOWTO: Caffeine nap

  1. Drink a cup of coffee (‘the caffeine has to travel through your gastro-intestinal tract, giving you time to nap before it kicks in.’)
  2. Doze (‘you’ll get what’s known as effective microsleep, or momentary lapses of wakefulness.’)
  3. Wake up after 15 minutes (any longer and your brain’s prefrontal cortex – used for judgement, etc. – will ‘spin down’ and can take 30 mins to reboot)

The caffeine nap works by you using the time that it takes the caffeine to be absorbed into your bloodstream to nap. This ‘helps clear your system of adenosine, a chemical which makes you sleepy.’ (according to this source)

Scientific credence has been given to the caffeine nap through research done at the Sleep Research Laboratory at Loughborough University. Their study, inventively-titled Suppression of sleepiness in drivers: combination of caffeine with a short nap found that the mid-afternoon ‘sleepiness peak’

…was significantly reduced by caffeine and eliminated by the combined treatment, which reduced incidents to 9% of placebo levels versus 34% of placebo levels for caffeine alone.

I’ve found the caffeine nap to be a really effective technique to use when I come home from work to be more productive in the evenings. Coupled with the (Brian Eno-authored) Bloom iPhone app. it’s a winner! 😀

You can find a bit more about caffeine naps in Wikipedia’s more general section on Power naps and more about the wonders of caffeine can be found at the Coffee FAQ.

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