Why Caffeine May or May Not Be the Best Option


Woman Asleep with Coffee Cup in Hand

The debate about whether or not coffee or a nap is better for re-energizing your body at break time continues. Caffeine can provide you a quick jolt, but it can also make you crash.

Coffee vs. Naps

Many tests were done concerning whether or not coffee or a nap can make a person more alert, energized and functional. One test conducted at UC San Diego in 2008, for example, revealed that drinking coffee or taking a nap can cause a person to feel more awake. However, the subjects who drank the coffee did not act as alert as they felt and did not receive as high of motor skills and memory scores as the napping persons.

Incidentally, the test group who took a nap was instructed to sleep for 90 minutes. A “snooze” for this hour-and-a-half period can sustain you for about eight to 10 hours if you stayed up all night. On the contrary, a cup of coffee with 200 milligrams of caffeine will only sustain you for about six hours.

All in Favor of Power Naps, Say “Aye?”

A 15-minute power nap in contrast to coffee will not cause you to feel as rejuvenated. However, taking a nap even for this short of a time instead of drinking coffee can increase your alertness. Extend that nap to 25 minutes (like the pilots who were tested) and see if you experience a 35 percent higher alertness level. You could feel twice as focused after a short nap taken during the day.

The Added Benefit of "Coffee with a Nap"

Coffee might not be your answer if you do not take a nap before you drink it. However, you can benefit from the “pick-me-up” that you would receive if you consume this beverage after a power nap of about 15 minutes in duration. in fact, driving simulation and memory test scores improved after both a short nap and coffee. However, you need to drink the coffee immediately after the rest for you to maximize its benefit.

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