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The Caffeine Nap: A Real Productivity Hack or Just more Internet BS?

Because I am a fitness nut, I am always down to try new methods of getting a boost of energy without the use of garbage. I use natural nootropics and am a big proponent of kratom for energy, relaxation, and for my bad back. At the moment, I am deep into my doctoral of Health Psychology. With the dissertation phase looming, I’ve made it my business to discover the things that drives our physical energy levels while aiding in cognitive sharpness. You see, my dissertation will focus on how much (or how little) fitness and nutrition affects creative thinking. But that will be another post at another time. But the point is that I am always searching for something to keep me super-productive following my kickass workouts. I do strenuous, high-impact sessions, alternated with running. I’m gassed when I’m finished. Remember, if you're not dog-tired, you're not doing it right!

I don't do naps because I’m not three nor am I eighty (or a dude). But, lately, I have heard much support of the afternoon “power nap.” My issue with sleeping when it’s daylight is that it seems counter-productive. Plus, the hell of shrugging off lovely sleep and waking up once a day is quite enough, thank you!

Still, I’ve come to realization that I could stumble around, tuckered out for part of the afternoon, or I could rest for twenty minutes. So, this caffeine nap or coffee nap seemed like my kind of thing. There’s some science behind it; otherwise, this would be a dumb, pointless, rambling post (as most of mine are).

I'm betting most of you know how caffeine works, but I’m going to talk about it, anyway. First of all, there’s the amount of caffeine needed. And then there is the amount of time it takes for the divine elixir to kick in. Now, when you drag your ass out of bed in the morning after a night of libations, reading that book you were dying to get into (I have a few I can offer, if you need a new one), or something … rather naughty :-D, and you take that first sip of Joe, you may think it’s kicking in right then and there. But nope! That’s our conditioned response working (yay! Psychology!) to the routine, the aroma, and the taste.

For this "steroided-up" power nap, you need to consume between 200 to 250 milligrams of caffeine. That’s the optimal dosage, which is about 18 ounces—easy-peasy for most coffee lovers. But choose wisely. Coffee is the preferred way to get your caffeine. Sugary sodas are a big ol’ fail. And I don’t want to preach to anyone about the side effects of consuming diet drinks laced with fake sweeteners. Green tea, chai or matcha (blech!) also work, but you may need a little more to reach the optimal dosage. You might then wet your pants while you're snoozing, which is also a big ol’ fail. No-Doz or pill /powder caffeine might work, but many contain unnecessary fillers.

Keep in mind, the siesta is not the only option to doing this caffeine nap thing. The first way I tried this was to pre-brew a cup the night before and put it by my bed. I set my alarm for twenty minutes earlier than normal for the next morning. When that little bell jingled, I said some choice words as I do every morning, and sucked down that cup of room-temp java. Yuck! But I did it without taking a breath, then reset my alarm for my regular time, and crawled back under the covers. I couldn’t find the snooze-groove I'd been in, but it was okay. When I reemerged twenty minutes later, I was not quite as dopey and slow as I usually am. In fact, I was almost alive. The results were not incredible or even profound enough to make it a habit of waking to a cup of hours-old coffee.

The afternoon 3 o’clock crash option was more successful. I'd petered out after my mid-morning “I’m-fixing-to-die” workout (ah, the perks of working from home!), so I decided it was time for a little treat. For my experiment, an awesome glass of cold-brew coffee was in order — no cream, sugar or flavoring because I’m an ADULT! Anyway, I enjoyed my coffee and then crashed for what ended up a good but twitchy, 20-minute snooze. This time, I awoke feeling pumped, revitalized, and ready to tackle the rest of the day. And then the evening, too. It worked! I was also much more alert and focused, so the writing productivity increased big-time. Next time, I will schedule this BEFORE my “I’m- fixing-to-die” workout rather than using a pre-workout drink. I believe it will work better and without added jitters.

Here it is—my take on the caffeine nap. It's an experiment that I'll be tweaking to get the best possible effect. And I'll let you know here how it goes.

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