November 24, 2017

Coffee Naps – Caffeine Now Or Caffeine Later

Daly prepares for nap after drinking coffee. Courtesy of Zachary Daly.

By Zachary Daly ’18
Food Columnist

In the fall of 2014, I was a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed youth with a plain Jane, conservative coffee consumption—nothing atypical or worthy of a food column. Eager to break from the mold and stop drinking the lukewarm coffee that the Lord hath warned me about, I was excited to try a new coffee trend.

After three dreadful years of waiting, I finally found the coffee trend I’d been looking for, just a few weeks ago: the coffee nap. But what is a coffee nap, you might ask?

Concisely, this is your stairway to heaven. Oh, if only Led Zeppelin had known.

The trend focuses less on where you get your coffee and more on how you drink it.

In my trial run, I eagerly started up Old Faithful, a Keurig machine passed down to me by my older brother. The coffee you use can vary, but my choice at the time was freshly ground, 100% Arabica Coffee. Initially drawn to this New England Coffee brand by their shelf placement in Market Basket, I have stayed for the low acidity as to not upset my weak stomach.

Pairing this mediocre blend with a few hefty spoonfuls of organic cane sugar and a dash of Hood Half and Half, my cup is ready to go and under a dollar: efficient and un-offensive, just like a coffee nap.

Because coffee exudes multitasking, I sip the coffee in one hand, while clutching my phone in the other. I flip through Snapchat news, pondering if this is the way that news will be digested (just like this coffee) by my generation.

Within minutes the coffee is downed and I go to lie down in my bed, drawing the shades in the middle of the afternoon to create my own sensory deprivation tank on the cheap. I don’t usually nap easily, but closing my eyes and listening to nothing but my fish swim for fifteen minutes was therapeutic. Before I knew it, my alarm sounded and I woke up feeling satisfied with a short nap.

The beauty of the coffee nap is that you get to sleep during the latency period, before the caffeine in a cup of coffee begins to work its magic. Then as you wake up from a quick nap, just enough to close your eyes, breathe deeply, and reduce your cortisol levels, you also get to benefit from the caffeine. All of this helps ensure that you can more adequately fight the urge to nap for longer, and instead complete your work faster and more efficiently.

After the coffee nap, caffeine continues to be absorbed into your system for up to 45 minutes, providing sustained energy for up to 4 to 6 hours depending on your caffeine sensitivity. Researchers have found evidence supporting the hypothesis that a coffee nap is more beneficial than either a nap or caffeine in isolation.

I hope that you too will wake up from a coffee nap in the near future confidently saying, “I woke up like this.”

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