Here's a cool mind hack for you

Caffeine and napping seems like a counter intuitive concept.  Isn't caffeine supposed to keep you awake?  True, but read on to find out why scientists recommend this mind hack.

The idea of the "caffeine power nap" is to have a coffee, or similarly caffeinated beverage, before your nap.  By the time the caffeine has kicked in, you will either be fast asleep or just waking up.

Before I get into the details as to how this works, lets take a look at power naps.   How much sleep did you miss last night?  If your a monophasic sleeper (which means you get your sleep all in one block), did you get 7-8 hours?  If you got less than this, you probably have a sleep debt and need to make it up somehow.

On the other hand, you may be a polyphaisc sleeper ( I'll write more about this in another post), like me, where you split your sleep into multiple sections, taking power naps are essential for survival.   Being a polyphasic sleeper means I can sleep less, however, if I do miss a section of sleep I will crash and burn.

So onto the concept of Caffeine Naps

Caffeine takes around 20 minutes to have an affect on your body and absorption will be complete in around 45 minutes.  This means,  If you fall asleep right after taking caffeine, it won't hinder your ability to sleep.    The perk is (quite literally) a reduced sense of drowsiness and a heightened state of alertness when you wake up.

To test out the theory of the "caffeine nap", sleep researchers at the Loughborough University gave subjects caffeine which was immediately followed by a power nap.  These subjects out performed those who were given a placebo before taking a power nap, on a driving simulation.

Of course taking a power nap with caffeine will require some discipline.  If you don't end up napping after the caffeine, you're probably going to end up more tired than before.

Personally I've had positive results having caffeine before taking a nap.  I experimented with different forms - green tea, black tea, red bull and coffee.  I found the latter two seem to be the most effective.  This is most likely due to the fact that the caffeine in tea is released  differently into the body.  The caffeine "high" from tea is said to be less intense but longer lasting.

I'm going to be experimenting with different forms of stimulants (sugars, guarana etc.) to see if they can be used effectively as well.  And because I'm a data freak, I've been taking reaction tests after each nap to test things out.  These will all be released in a coming post.

p.s - need a caffeine hit but don't like coffee. Try this gum.