Popular Health Myths and Beliefs - Debunked
Scientific research takes on common wisdom. Guess which one wins (again).
By Corrie Pikul
Original Content | February 27, 2012
As a caffeine addict juggling multiple deadlines, O'Connor noticed that downing an espresso before a planned nap didn't prevent him from falling asleep, and it also seemed to help him feel more refreshed when he woke up. He found a series of studies by sleep researchers in England that supported his hypothesis: Drinking a cup of coffee and then immediately snoozing for 15 minutes was more effective at reviving a wiped-out person than either of those strategies on its own. The researchers believe that the short nap helps clear the brain of the sleep-inducing compound adenosine and gives the coffee just enough time to kick in (caffeine takes about 20 minutes to have a physiological effect).
Sip, sleep, snap to attention: These studies involved sleep-deprived drivers, but O'Connor says that if this trick can make someone alert, coordinated and focused enough to handle a vehicle without delays in reaction time, then it would also help any of us who need an afternoon energy boost.