If you’re like many baby boomers and older folks, you may be looking for ways to feel more rested and relaxed–always helpful for feeling healthy. Maybe you’ve even considered catching a few winks in the middle of the day, a practice that has been shown to help people increase their mental capacity.
Along those lines, I recently came across a concept that is highly intriguing, one that some of you may find useful. It’s called the “napuccino.”
What is a napuccino?
A nap + a cup of coffee = a good idea? At first glance, it may sound too good to be true, but let’s take a closer look.
Lots of folks reach for caffeine in some form to power through the afternoon. It might be a soft drink or cup of coffee, or even black tea. Others settle in for a quick nap. What if we combined the two, using precise timing to get the best of both worlds?
Here’s how it works
The effects of caffeine don’t start working for most people until about 20 – 30 minutes after consumption. So if you lay down for a nap immediately after your afternoon joe, you should be able to fall asleep without its stimulant effects. Then, if you keep your nap to no more than half an hour, you wake up with a burst of energy (theoretically, of course), with caffeine’s energizing effects coursing through your body. You’re ready to go for several more hours. Again, timing is the key.
Is napping right for you?
I have heard naps being recommended for years, and not just for toddlers. They’ve been shown to improve memory and concentration, lift mood, ease stress, lower blood pressure, and boost creativity. I’ve known more than one baby boomer who naps on a regular basis to help fire up for an afternoon of work.
But most experts caution against this practice for those who have sleep disturbances (read: insomnia), as napping may make it harder to fall asleep at night. So for people like me, napuccinos are off the menu.
And for those with Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or a sensitive stomach, green tea could be a better option. (Yes, green tea does contain caffeine, but the drink is kinder on the GI tract for many people.)
Napuccino do’s and dont’s
- Set an alarm. A nap of 20 – 30 minutes is optimal (Note: You don’t want to fall into a deep sleep with a napuccino; this would lead to feeling groggy and disoriented upon waking. Sleeping more than 45 minutes can dip into that territory.)
- Take advantage of your body’s natural circadian rhythm. Humans have a natural dip in alertness between 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
- Schedule your napuccino midway between your waking hours. If you rise at 6:00 a.m. and go to bed at 10:00 p.m., grab a power nap around 2:00.
- Do not drink coffee late in the day if you’re sensitive to its stimulating effects. Caffeine can stay in your system for up to 12 hours.
For more tips to feel alert during the day, reach out to me.