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When Coffee Isn’t Enough: Science Says You Should Try Coffee Nap To Be Super Productive

When Coffee Isn’t Enough: Science Says You Should Try Coffee Nap To Be Super Productive

I don’t know about you, but coffee has pretty much become a staple in my diet. I usually start my day off with two cups (at the least), and go through several more as the hours pass by. If I’m lucky, I’ll even top it off with a triple latte or something crazy like that.

    I think I’m going to pause now and get another cup.

    Thanks to my (minor) addiction, I’m always looking for new ways to prove that coffee (or more generally speaking, caffeine) is in some way beneficial to your health. In this article I’ll explore one of the more unbelievable positive aspects of coffee: that it’ll make your naps more effective! If that sounds counter-intuitive, I understand. I was a bit bamboozled too before I did some more research into the subject.

    Anyways, read on to find out why taking these so-called “coffee naps” (literally the act of taking a nap right after drinking a cup of coffee) will lead to a more energetic you…

    How exactly does a coffee nap work?

      I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no scientist. That being said, I did well enough in my chemistry classes to be able to give you a basic rundown of how this works from a scientific perspective.

      First things first, I’ll go over this thing called adenosine. Basically, it’s a substance that builds up in your brain while you’re awake. Once it surpasses a certain threshold, you become drowsy, and that feeling will get progressively more intense until you feel absolutely obligated to rest your head on your keyboard and fall asleep.

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      Coffee is effective at keeping drowsiness at bay because it’s able to combat the effects of adenosine. Of course, there’s no better alternative to eliminating tiredness than a full night of sleep, where adenosine is essentially flushed out of your brain (more on that in a bit).

      Knowing this, it becomes easier to see why a coffee nap is more effective at defeating the stereotypical 2pm crash than either coffee or naps alone. By itself, coffee will work to block adenosine from connecting to your brain, but if you’re already drowsy it will have to work hard to compete against all of the chemical buildup in your head. If you only take a nap, you’ll get rid of a lot of adenosine, but simultaneously you’re leaving your brain receptors wide open for more to return as soon as you wake up.

      Here’s the key: it takes about twenty minutes for caffeine to take effect. This means that in order to perform a coffee nap, you have to slurp down your cup of java and quickly find a place to rest. This will give you a little under twenty minutes for a nap, which is good, as napping for any longer than that can lead to sleep inertia (basically you want to keep your naps short or you’ll enter deep sleep, which is harder to wake up from).

      If your timing is on track, the caffeine will hit your brain as soon as you wake up from your short nap. Your brief respite will have cleared the adenosine from your brain, and the caffeine will block any more from entering for a period of time.

      Research proving the coffee nap’s effectiveness.

        Conceptually speaking, it’s no wonder why a coffee nap is superior to just drinking coffee or taking a nap. You get the best of both worlds. Still, it can’t hurt to look at some of the research proving this point definitively.

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        First, let’s look at coffee itself. We know about its anti-drowsy effects, and I’ve talked already about what it does to adenosine. In addition to that, its been known to boost people’s focus and ability to come up with imaginative ideas. Indeed, according to author Mason Currey, “Beethoven and Proust, Glenn Gould and Francis Bacon, and Jean-Paul Sartre and Gustav Mahler” all benefited from the brain-boosting effects of coffee.

        Not only that, but coffee is a known stress-reliever, so much so that Navy (freaking) Seals have been known to use the stuff to help them deal with stressful situations. Pretty cool, huh?

        And if stress-relief and mind-enhancing properties weren’t enough, coffee also fortifies your body for intense workouts, meaning you’ll be able to run faster and push yourself harder for a longer period of time. With how awesome coffee is, is it any wonder that combining it with naps has an extremely beneficial effect? Let’s look at the evidence:

        One study from Japan gave memory tests both to subjects who had taken coffee naps, and those who had taken regular naps. The results were clear: those who had done the former fared better than their counterparts.

        Folks in England tested this theory as well, evaluating the driving abilities of those who either took a coffee nap, drank coffee, drank a placebo (decaf), or just napped for fifteen minutes. Those who coffee napped were the clear victors.

        In yet another study, researchers wanted to see whether or not coffee naps could sustain a person throughout a 24 hour period of no-sleep. They used two groups, each of which were allowed to take naps throughout the day instead of sleeping the usual 8 hours. One was given coffee before naps, the other a placebo. As the day dragged on, the placebo group received markedly lower scores on cognition tests than their caffeinated brethren.

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        Evidently, attacking adenosine in two ways rather than one does lead to more alert individuals. While it might be difficult to time a coffee nap properly, there’s no question that there are benefits to giving it a try.

        So, how do I take a coffee nap?

          As I’ve hinted at earlier, it’s all about the timing. Even if caffeine makes you jittery and you’re leery of being able to nap at all after ingesting it, science has proven that coffee naps work when done correctly. You’ve got a decent fifteen to twenty minute window to work with here, and on top of that, you don’t even have to nap well for it to work. In one of the studies I cited earlier, coffee nap subjects who “half-slept” after drinking their coffee still received the same benefits as those who dozed off completely.

          Anyways, the directions for taking a coffee nap are pretty simple. For one, it doesn’t have to be coffee; anything with caffeine will do. Though in my opinion, coffee is superior to tea, soda, and energy drinks, and it contains way more caffeine to boot.

          Next is probably the most important step: you need to drink it fast. This is a problem for me since I usually dawdle and take my time daintily sipping my coffee in the morning. For a coffee nap, you have to mean business. That means chugging the contents of your mug in a minute, maybe less.

          Once you’ve got it all down, the clock is ticking. You now have approximately twenty minutes to find a comfortable position and try your darnedest to fall into a nice state of nap-sleep. Remember to set an alarm or something, because dozing off for too long will ruin everything.

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          After your alarm goes off (or your co-worker slaps you awake), you should be good to go. Your brain will be prepped and ready to deal with the next several hours of drudgery! Huzzah!

          Happy coffee napping. Let me know how this worked for you in the comments below!

            Stay caffeinated, my friends!

             

            Featured photo credit: Coffee_Grains_8314 (3).JPG/ MorgueFile via mrg.bz

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            Last Updated on November 18, 2019

            How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

            How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

            Everyone of my team members has a bucketload of tasks that they need to deal with every working day. On top of that, most of their tasks are either creativity tasks or problem solving tasks.

            Despite having loads of tasks to handle, our team is able to stay creative and work towards our goals consistently.

            How do we manage that?

            I’m going to reveal to you how I helped my team get more things done in less time through the power of correct prioritization. A few minutes spent reading this article could literally save you thousands of hours over the long term. So, let’s get started with my method on how to prioritize:

            The Scales Method – a productivity method I created several years ago.

            How to Prioritize with the Scales Method

              One of our new editors came to me the other day and told me how she was struggling to keep up with the many tasks she needed to handle and the deadlines she constantly needed to stick to.

              At the end of each day, she felt like she had done a lot of things but often failed to come up with creative ideas and to get articles successfully published. From what she told me, it was obvious that she felt overwhelmed and was growing increasingly frustrated about failing to achieve her targets despite putting in extra hours most days.

              After she listened to my advice – and I introduced her to the Scales Method – she immediately experienced a dramatic rise in productivity, which looked like this:

              • She could produce three times more creative ideas for blog articles
              • She could publish all her articles on time
              • And she could finish all her work on time every day (no more overtime!)

              Curious to find out how she did it? Read on for the step-by-step guide:

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              1. Set Aside 10 Minutes for Planning

              When it comes to tackling productivity issues, it makes sense to plan before taking action. However, don’t become so involved in planning that you become trapped in it and never move beyond first base.

              My recommendation is to give yourself a specific time period for planning – but keep it short. Ideally, 10 or 15 minutes. This should be adequate to think about your plan.

              Use this time to:

              • Look at the big picture.
              • Think about the current goal and target that you need/want to achieve.
              • Lay out all the tasks you need to do.

              2. Align Your Tasks with Your Goal

              This is the core component that makes the Scales Method effective.

              It works like this:

              Take a look at all the tasks you’re doing, and review the importance of each of them. Specifically, measure a task’s importance by its cost and benefit.

              By cost, I am referring to the effort needed per task (including time, money and other resources). The benefit is how closely the task can contribute to your goal.

                To make this easier for you, I’ve listed below four combinations that will enable you to quickly and easily determine the priority of each of your tasks:

                Low Cost + High Benefit

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                Do these tasks first because they’re the simple ones to complete, yet help you get closer to your goal.

                Approving artwork created for a sales brochure would likely fit this category. You could easily decide on whether you liked the artwork/layout, but your decision to approve would trigger the production of the leaflet and the subsequent sales benefits of sending it out to potential customers.

                High Cost + High Benefit

                Break the high cost task down into smaller ones. In other words, break the big task into mini ones that take less than an hour to complete. And then re-evaluate these small tasks and set their correct priority level.

                Imagine if you were asked to write a product launch plan for a new diary-free protein powder supplement. Instead of trying to write the plan in one sitting – aim to write the different sections at different times (e.g., spend 30 minutes writing the introduction, one hour writing the body text, and 30 minutes writing the conclusion).

                Low Cost + Low Benefit

                This combination should be your lowest priority. Either give yourself 10-15 minutes to handle this task, or put these kind of tasks in between valuable tasks as a useful break.

                These are probably necessary tasks (e.g., routine tasks like checking emails) but they don’t contribute much towards reaching your desired goal. Keep them way down your priority list.

                High Cost + Low Benefit

                Review if these tasks are really necessary. Think of ways to reduce the cost if you decide that the completion of the task is required.

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                For instance, can any tools or systems help to speed up doing the task? In this category, you’re likely to find things like checking and updating sales contacts spreadsheets. This can be a fiddly and time-consuming thing to do without making mistakes. However, there are plenty of apps out there they can make this process instant and seamless.

                Now, coming back to the editor who I referred to earlier, let’s take a look at her typical daily task list:

                  After listening to my advice, she broke down the High cost+ High benefit task into smaller ones. Her tasks then looked like this (in order of priority):

                    And for the task about promoting articles to different platforms, after reviewing its benefits, we decided to focus on the most effective platform only – thereby significantly lowering the associated time cost.

                    Bonus Tip: Tackling Tasks with Deadlines

                    Once you’ve evaluated your tasks, you’ll know the importance of each of them. This will immediately give you a crystal-clear picture on which tasks would help you to achieve more (in terms of achieving your goals). Sometimes, however, you won’t be able to decide every task’s priority because there’ll be deadlines set by external parties such as managers and agencies.

                    What to do in these cases?

                    Well, I suggest that after considering the importance and values of your current tasks, align the list with the deadlines and adjust the priorities accordingly.

                    For example, let’s dip into the editor’s world again.

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                    Some of the articles she edited needed to be published by specific dates. The Scales Method allows for this, and in this case, her amended task list would look something like this:

                      Hopefully, you can now see how easy it is to evaluate the importance of tasks and how to order them in lists of priority.

                      The Scales Method Is Different from Anything Else You’ve Tried

                      By adopting the Scales Method, you’ll begin to correctly prioritize your work, and most importantly – boost your productivity by up to 10 times!

                      And unlike other methods that don’t really explain how to decide the importance of a task, my method will help you break down each of your tasks into two parts: cost and benefits. My method will also help you to take follow-up action based on different cost and benefits combinations.

                      Start right now by spending 10 minutes to evaluate your common daily tasks and how they align with your goal(s). Once you have this information, it’ll be super-easy to put your tasks into a priority list. All that remains, is that you kick off your next working day by following your new list.

                      Trust me, once you begin using the Scales Method – you’ll never want to go back to your old ways of working.

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                      Featured photo credit: Vector Stock via vectorstock.com

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