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A Nap Beats Coffee for Battling Sleepiness

Need an Afternoon Pick-Me-Up? Take a Nap

Next time your colleagues invite you on an afternoon coffee break, tell 'em you'll just take a nap instead. According to a new study by the Sleep Research Center at Loughborough University in England, a short nap may be the best way to fend off afternoon drowsiness.

The study involved 20 young adults, all of whom felt well-rested and got about seven and a half hours of sleep a night. Over the course of a week, each subject tried three different methods for battling postlunch sleepiness: sleeping in an extra 90 minutes in the mornings, taking a 20-minute nap, and consuming the equivalent of two cups of coffee in the afternoon. For the results of the study,


To test each method, the researchers measured how sleepy the subjects were later in the afternoon by seeing how long it took them to fall asleep for a nap. Here's what they found:

When the volunteers did nothing, they fell asleep within nine minutes on average when tested at 3:30 in the afternoon. Sleeping late kept people awake only a minute longer on average than did doing nothing. Caffeine worked better, keeping people awake for about 12 minutes longer on average.

But nothing beat a nap. After a 20-minute nap, people nearly doubled the amount of time it took to fall asleep when tested later in the afternoon, indicating that they were no longer sleepy. None of the measures impaired people’s ability to fall asleep at night.

Isn't that just fascinating? I guess the Spanish have the right idea with their siestas. I have definitely found myself feeling refreshed after catnaps, but I never knew they were so effective. Too bad that lying down on the office couch isn't as socially acceptable as taking a coffee break. Do you think it should be?


Join The Conversation
sparklestar sparklestar 9 years
Some of us have full time jobs... ;p
juicylove juicylove 9 years
every workplace should just have one of these sorry i dont know how to make a link but, i read about them a while ago and apparently theyre pretty effective?
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 9 years
Haha, I'll work on making my boss let me take a lunch break at least once a week. It's going to have to be caffeine only at this job!
totygoliguez totygoliguez 9 years
I love taking naps, its so refreshing! I feel so energyzed after taking a nice nap.
sldc sldc 9 years
I am the queen of cat naps.
divinedebris divinedebris 9 years
I love to nap but I really don't get the refreshed feeling when I wake up, I'm a grumpy waker though, always have been. ha. I wonder if I got exactly 20 minutes I'd be be feeling great. Eh, still love my hour + naps. :D
kia kia 9 years
Yes! Even a few minutes of shut eye perks me up big time.
Baby-Girl Baby-Girl 9 years
I cannot sleep during the day. Nap in preschool never happened for me. When it's day light outside I can't do it. Now I can lay and "rest", but that's it.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 9 years
I love naps. I don't take one every day, but now and then I do. And today I did. I needed some quiet for a little bit so I took my book outside and sat by the pool. I read for a little bit and then decided to curl up on the lounger and take a nap - it was very relaxing.
uptown_girl uptown_girl 9 years
I miss naps. :(
emalove emalove 9 years
I love napping!
nikodarling nikodarling 9 years
I'd love to have a nap, but I can't get anything more than a 2-minute bathroom break. Maybe I could prop my head in my hands and pretend I am staring at the computer screen.
Lo-Lo291303 Lo-Lo291303 9 years
I adore my afternoon naps. I'm a teacher and usually get home around 3:30 pm. I'll sleep when I get home and it totally refreshes me before I have dinner and hit the gym. I used to think napping would ruin my night's sleep, but it doesn't at all.
lolababy575 lolababy575 9 years
I'm not a big napper because my body is either sleeping or awake and it never really was able to nap for a short time during the day. Maybe I'll give it a try again!
idawson idawson 9 years
just what the doctor ordered ....
stephley stephley 9 years
My boss is okay with lunch but if I even offered to skip lunch to take a quick 20 minutes at 3p, he'd whine and probably have something for me to do at that point every day. I wish he would let me though, because I'd be a lot more productive at the end of the day when he's crashing deadlines.
Allytta Allytta 9 years
:) i don't need a study for that, i have experimented all on my own. and the results are the same!
chicchick chicchick 9 years
I would love to be napping by the pool right now...
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