Why a 20-minute nap can give you more energy and alertness than an afternoon coffee
Is Coffee Bad for You?
Caffeine dependence can lead to adrenal fatigue. This is because caffeine in coffee (and some teas, too!) stimulates a stress response in the brain, which causes your adrenal glands to release stress hormones. Those who are regular drinkers of coffee are actually weakening these adrenal glands, and overtime will start to experience signs of adrenal fatigue, which include fatigue (duh), feeling frazzled, getting salt cravings, staying up late at night, and having a weakened immune system.
The caffeine in coffee is also strongly associated with indigestion. Avid coffee drinkers are probably already familiar with this from experience (ever hear “Coffee makes me poop”? That’s just the start). In fact, scientists found that in addition to indigestion, caffeine produces headaches, shakes, heart palpitations, and insomnia. Not fun.
Depression, Arthritis, and Cancer
Research also shows that drinking coffee regularly (more than 2 cups a day) increases the risk of pancreatic cancer. Another team found that high caffeine intake corresponded to a higher severity of depression and insomnia in adolescents. And it’s not just the caffeine. One group of researchers discovered in 2002 that decaf coffee will actually increase women’s risk of rheumatoid arthritis!
Meanwhile, one study found that drinking coffee doesn’t actually improve cognitive function (although, of course all participants reported having more energy). More physical energy without any improvement on critical thinking and problem solving? Perhaps you don’t need that cup-a-joe like you thought you did.
How to Energize Naturally
So, how do you stay alert throughout the day without risking a number of health conditions? Sleep! We know it’s hard to consistently get enough sleep every night, so thankfully, there’s another trick to stay awake and energized all day. The answer is to take naps the right way!
Health Benefits of Napping
- Improve alertness right away and throughout the day
- Improves performance (NASA tested this theory… naps led to 34% better performance!)
- Great for maintaining mental health
- Keeps you safe for late night drives
The Right Way to Take a Nap
There’s a bit of a science for the perfect nap. If you do it too early, too late, or too long, you can end up with worse insomnia than before, or feeling more sleepy than before napping! This is how to do it the right way for the best benefits!
- Regular nap schedule
- Naps should be 25 minutes or less so you wake up alert instead of groggy
- Block light (close the curtains or wear an eye mask) to fall asleep faster
- Cover up with a blanket. Your body temperature drops when you sleep. Don’t let feeling cold interrupt your precious naptime.
- Don’t nap before noon, or after 4pm