Coffee Talk #661: Coffee Naps — Are They Really a Thing?

Coffee Nap

Earlier this year, several Bay Area friends tried to get me to buy into coffee naps. They swore that coffee naps are the most efficient way to refresh and recharge during the workday. To me, the practice sounded like the latest Silicon Valley trend — the kind of thing that employers love because it gets their underlings to work more and employees use to justify their overzealous efforts. I’m still unsure if coffee naps are truly effective or if they’re a placebo, so I thought I’d use today’s Coffee Talk to think out loud and get your opinion on the practice.

If you’re not familiar with coffee naps, the idea is to quickly drink a cup of coffee before taking a short rest. While you’re napping, the coffee is working its way through your system. By the time you’re done resting, the stimulants will have kicked in and you won’t feel sluggish when you awake.

Initially, I thought that coffee naps sounded ridiculous, but after reading about the relationship between caffeine and adenosine, I wondered if there might be something to the practice. While they’re hardly a proper substitute for getting a full night of sleep, there’s a chance that coffee naps could be effective for some people.

Unfortunately, I am not one of those people. I tried coffee naps and completely failed at them. My problem is that I’m slow (mentally, physically, etc.). With coffee naps, you want to drink your coffee quickly so that the caffeine doesn’t have time to kick in. As a slow person and a coffee nerd that enjoys the flavor of the beverage, it usually takes me 30 minutes to finish a 16-ounce cup of coffee. It just doesn’t feel right to down a good cup of Ethiopian Yirgacheffe because I want to nap more efficiently. The handful of times I attempted a coffee nap, the caffeine was already playing around in my brain and I couldn’t sleep.

Anyway, I wanted to get your opinion on coffee naps. Do you think that they’re useful or are they another silly Silicon Valley trend? Do you see yourself trying them out? Leave a comment and let me know (please!).

4 thoughts on “Coffee Talk #661: Coffee Naps — Are They Really a Thing?”

  1. Coffee naps are extremely useful and work wonderfully, if you don’t have the issues you descried here. If one is more inclined to want to enjoy the coffee–slow-sip style–why not just take the caffeine as a supplement? I drink coffee to enjoy it but I also will use caffeine as a supplement. Most caffeine supps are far too strong (for me) to recommended (usually in the 200 mg range), but there is one sold by Puritan’s Pride at 50 mg of caffeine per pill. [here: That is the one I use and it makes coffee naps quite easy and also able to be fine-tuned to the individuals caffeine tolerance since one pill only has 50 mg.

    Note: that supplement, in one pill, has 50 mg caffeine to 100 mg l-theanine–an amino acid found in green tea that reportedly is responsible for the ‘calming’ effect of green tea. This is a good supplement for coffee naps (in my experience) because it will get you up without the uneasy feelings of too much caffeine. Alert *and* steady!

    My ‘coffee naps’ usually are done a little differently though. I wake up about a half an hour before my normal time to wake from a night’s rest, then I’ll take about 50-100 mg caffeine (which would also have 100-200 mg l-thenanine in my pills) and then go back to sleep. I fall back to sleep super easy because I didn’t have to make coffee or even turn on the lights (I just keep the pills and a cup of water next to my bed). It’s amazing how alert I feel when I wake back up.

  2. I tried them too and had the same problem as you even if I chugged my coffee. Maybe caffeine absorbs faster in some people.

  3. Hmm…maybe, but I know for me that if I even smell coffee, it triggers something in my brain that says “wake up”. So for me, it’s not about coffee per se, but caffeine that will make this work.

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