Open Thinkering


Be more productive: take ‘caffeine naps’.

'A Little bit of Beethoven' by malias @ Flickr

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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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3 thoughts on “Be more productive: take ‘caffeine naps’.

  1. I love this idea, everyone tells me that my coffee consumption is way out of control, now if I can just work the micro napping periods in between I will have it all sorted.

    I imagine I will be required to set some kind of alarm in between to make sure I don’t exceed my 15 minutes…. will have to time the coffee intake to make sure that I can get the nap portion going instead of the constant flow of caffeine. Loved the picture by the way.


  2. I’ll be damned – it seems to work for me !

    As a power-napper and coffee-lover, this tip combines the best of both worlds :-)

    However, I think I’ll stilll drink my coffee AFTER my long naps ;-)

    Thank you for the tip – I’ve learned something new today as well…

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