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Coffee Naps Better For Alertness Than Coffee Or Naps Alone 133

An anonymous reader writes: Caffeine is a staple of most workplaces — it's rare to find an office without a coffee pot or a fridge full of soda. It's necessary (or at least feels like it's necessary) because many workers have a hard time staying awake while sitting at a desk for hours at a time, and the alternative — naps — aren't usually allowed. But new research shows it might be more efficient for employers to encourage brief "coffee naps," which are more effective at returning people to an alert state than either caffeine or naps alone. A "coffee nap" is when you drink a cup of coffee, and then take a sub-20-minute nap immediately afterward. This works because caffeine takes about 20 minutes to get into your bloodstream, and a 20-minute nap clears adenosine from your brain without putting you into deeper stages of sleep. In multiple studies, tired participants who took coffee naps made fewer mistakes in a driving simulator after they awoke than the people who drank coffee without a nap or slept without ingesting caffeine.
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Coffee Naps Better For Alertness Than Coffee Or Naps Alone

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  • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @10:27AM (#47784265)
    I can attest to this. When I was hourly at a place where they weren't allowed to send us home early, they would find all manner of useless busywork for us to do if they caught us done without more work to do. It became an arms race, between trying to not get caught and trying to catch those not working.

    And for those that want to argue that it's the employer's time, to use the employees how they see fit, one of the fastest ways to demoralize a technical worker is to make him do manual labor that doesn't even serve a purpose; most of us got into technical fields to avoid doing manual labor in the first place, let alone that which doesn't make a positive contribution.
  • by jon3k ( 691256 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @10:35AM (#47784337)
    Depends on the employer. Maybe if you have a bunch of $11/hour monkeys working for you all they care about are butts in seats. My upper management wants to see project deadlines hit. They don't care what or how we get it done.
  • by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @10:39AM (#47784381) Homepage Journal

    I'm sorry, I didn't mean to suggest I wasn't sympathetic with your plight. Sorry. Busywork does actually suck. Just that a bit of physical labor as part of my work day wouldn't be unwelcome.

  • by MyLongNickName ( 822545 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @10:57AM (#47784507) Journal

    About ten years ago, I cut out caffeine altogether. The first two weeks off of it was really tough. I slept a lot and when I was awake I didn't feel awake.

    Now, I'm more alert than I was when I was caffeinated and when I hit the pillow at night, 9 times out of 10 I am out within five minutes. I wake up without an alarm clock and have no more than a minute or two of grogginess when I get up.

    I was probably a harder core caffeine user than most, and with my personality, dialing it back wouldn't work -- it is either consume a lot or none at all.

    Overall, it was the best health choice I've made for myself.

  • by pla ( 258480 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @11:27AM (#47784725) Journal
    Maybe people should just sleep 8 hours a night like they're supposed to.

    We don't naturally sleep 8 hours a night []. We naturally sleep for two blocks of 3-4 hours per day, which the lifestyle requirements of the modern world have forced to occur in a more-or-less continuous 7-8 hour block.

    Pre-industrially, those two blocks would have an hour or two of waking time between them; modern research (mostly military) has found that splitting them apart further allows people to go with as little as 4-5 hours of sleep per 24 hour period with only minimal impact on performance.
  • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @12:47PM (#47785327)

    Welcome to the life of an active duty military member

    Indeed. Nobody does busywork as well as the US military. When I was a private, I was once give the task of straightening out staples so they could be reused.

"Call immediately. Time is running out. We both need to do something monstrous before we die." -- Message from Ralph Steadman to Hunter Thompson