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The Completely Counterintuitive Way To Maximize Your Coffee

Coffee is the fuel that powers America, with the average person drinking over 2 cups a day. But what if you could combine it with something else to get an even bigger boost from your daily java (no, this is not an promotion for crack sprinkles)? As Vox notes, you shouldn’t overlook adding coffee to what may seem like its natural enemy, the nap.

The coffee nap is a scientifically supported technique that says a solid dose of caffeine before a nap boosts alertness better than either drinking coffee or napping alone. Caffeine from coffee, like all stimulants that don’t result in nosebleeds or melted faces, takes a while to activate in your brain — about 20 minutes. Naps energize by clearing adenosine — a sleepy chemical — from its receptors in your brain, and caffeine energizes by blocking adenosine from reaching those receptors at all. The theory behind a 20-minute coffee nap is that sleep makes the caffeine far more effective by removing the competing adenosine from those receptors just as caffeine arrives to the party. As Vox points out, “there’s not a huge body of work, but there are a few different studies” that all point to the benefits of coffee and napping over coffee or napping.

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The only obstacle with the whole concept is finding a time and place to sleep in the middle of the day. Unless you work at Google or some other forward thinking place with nap pods, you might have to live life on the edge in back corner of the office parking, leaning the seat below the window while perusing Coltrane’s smoothest hits at your own peril.