The Best of Both Worlds: Coffee & Naps

With Erica Gavel

Whether you’re physically active, a recreational athlete, have a long work day, or are training for the Olympics, when combined together, coffee and naps can increase performance.

Drinking a cup of coffee followed by a 15-20 min nap can give you that second wind everyone is looking for. Many of you are probably thinking, this is counter-intuitive and doesn’t make sense…. It’s crazy, but it works.

Science, it’s an amazing thing. When an individual drinks caffeine it passes through the small intestine and enters the blood stream. In the bloodstream, the caffeine is then sent to the brain where it blocks adenosine receptors (neurotransmitter that causes drowsiness). This will take 20-45 mins. From here, the caffeine does the opposite; it kick starts the nervous system and sends a jolt of energy. After a person falls asleep, the nap acts as a washing machine and cleans out the receptors; just in time for the caffeine to enter the brain. Dosage will depend on sensitivity, but positive results have been seen from 3-6 mg/kg.

For the physically active, recreational athlete, or high performance athlete, combining a carbohydrate in addition to caffeine can also increase performance. Studies have shown, carbohydrates + caffeine has the potential to increase aerobic power and endurance. On a second note, the carbohydrate intake will help with bringing blood sugar back to normal levels (slightly depleted is very common). If the carbohydrates are simple, it can take as little as 15 mins to enter the blood stream. With that being said, if you have time after the nap to eat do so…. If not, try out the trifecta (nap, caffeine, and carb)!

 

References:

Chemical Reaction: (caffeine and adenosine)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20164566

Caffeine and Naps: (in car drivers)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8936399

Caffeine and dosage:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11583104
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9401427

Caffeine and Sugar: Positive
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/19494957_Effect_of_Sucrose_and_Caffeine_Ingestion_on_Performance_of_Prolonged_Strenuous_Running

Time it takes CHO to get into bloodstream:
http://www.livestrong.com/article/507695-foods-that-are-converted-into-sugars-after-being-eaten/

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