Caffeine combined with sleep could boost brain function, according to studies. Researchers have found coffee and other caffeine-filled beverages followed by napping for 20 minutes increases the alertness of the brain after waking up. It has been known for decades that caffeinated beverages generally help people to stay alert and focused for longer periods of time. However, coffee can take as long as 20 minutes to be absorbed by the brain. Researchers contend that taking a coffee nap, which is a pattern of sleeping for about 20 minutes just after the consumption of caffeine, can help a person stay alert and focused for a longer period of time.
The reasoning behind this phenomenon is that a hormone generated within the brain (adenosine) is responsible for triggering a person’s need for sleep. Specifically, excess levels of this hormone in the brain results in an individual feeling sleepy or drowsy. A caffeinated-fueled beverage, such as coffee, can block certain adenosine receptors, but does not inhibit all the receptors. As a result, a person may still feel lethargic after having just consumed a caffeine-filled beverage.
Scientists claim that sleep combined with caffeine could boost brain function and is more effective than just having coffee alone. The act of sleeping will organically reduce adenosine levels in a person’s brain. However, if a person falls asleep for more than 15 to 20 minutes, then the brain can often drift into deeper stages of sleep, which could make it more difficult to wake up. Researchers contend that caffeine naps or shorter periods of sleep (20 minutes or less) removes adenosine from the brain more efficiently and enables an individual to stay more alert. Moreover, it usually takes up to 20 minutes for caffeine to be processed through the bloodstream and be absorbed by the brain, which means that a combination of coffee and sleeping for 20 minutes can remove adenosine more efficiently from the brain, which will help boost alertness in individuals who adopt these practices.
Recent studies have reaffirmed previous findings among experts that claim a coffee nap boosts the alertness of the brain. A previous study conducted by the researchers in the United Kingdom at Loughborough University observed tired drivers in a car simulator for research purposes. The study participants received approximately 150 mg of caffeine and were asked to sleep for about 15 minutes following the consumption of a beverage. The researchers found that when aided by a coffee nap, the participants committed far fewer errors in the driving simulator in comparison to when they either drank just coffee alone or took naps of longer/shorter duration.
Caffeine combined with sleep could boost brain function, according to multiple studies. Researchers have indicated that many individuals may find it difficult to wake up within 20 minutes, however, they claim it is the key to increased alertness in the brain. It has been known for decades that caffeinated beverages generally help people to stay alert and focused for longer durations. However, coffee can take as long as 20 minutes to be absorbed by the brain. Researchers contend that taking a caffeine nap (cat naps of about 20 minutes just after the consumption of caffeine) can help a person stay alert and focused for a longer period of time. Researchers contend that sleeping for about 20 minutes just after coffee or other caffeine-fueled intake can help a person stay alert for a longer period of time and clear the brain more efficiently of adenosine, which is the brain hormone that triggers drowsiness. The next time an individual is pressed by a deadline and is really in need of a nap, try an experiment–drink a caffeine-filled beverage and nap for approximately 20 minutes to see if any increased alertness is observed.
By Leigh Haugh