Could chugging a cup of coffee before a nap be the perfect mix?

Posted at 11:56 AM, Nov 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-14 11:28:37-05

NORFOLK, Va.  - Drinking a cup of coffee before a nap seems counter intuitive, but News 3 medical expert Dr. Ryan Light says the science behind it makes sense.

"A coffee nap is done by chugging a cup of coffee just before taking a nap," he explained on News 3 This Morning.  "The key is to fall a sleep before the caffeine reaches the brain.  The nap should be no longer than thirty minutes and before 3:00pm."

Dr. Light said a brain chemical called adenosine causes us to feel sleepy.   Caffeine blocks the effects of adenosine 20 minutes after consumption.  The sleep itself also helps remove adenosine from the brain.

"Research shows improvement in problem solving, mood, and energy levels when a person naps," he said.  "Avoiding napping by good sleep hygiene at night is ideal."

Dr. Light also warned of limiting the amount of caffeine.

"The studies used a regular cup of coffee not espresso, caffeinated drinks, or energy drinks," he said.  "Caffeine in high quantities can cause heart arrhythmia, heart attacks, or even death."