The society we live in is seeing a reduction in sleep. Why? A possible factor is the endless amount of technological and digital content we’re consuming on a daily basis. There are quite a few ways to solve this problem, but we’re going to look at two of the most popular options, drinking caffeine or taking a nap.
Caffeine vs. Naps
Caffeine and naps are opposites of each other. One is a stimulant that revs the body up and the other allows us to rest in a state of unconsciousness. Caffeine is great for keeping you awake when you’re sleep-deprived, but naps can help your brain function better and reduce fatigue.
Effect of Caffeine and Naps
A study1 showed that while on caffeine, verbal and motor skills decreased but napping enhanced verbal, motor, and visual skills. And naps that involved rapid eye movement (REM) increased creativity by 40%.
It’s important to note, however, that REM sleep occurs 90 minutes after falling asleep, and the first period of REM is about 10 minutes. So, if you’re willing to nap for over an hour and a half, you could potentially wake up more creative.
These types of longer naps are not as healthy or beneficial as a 20-30-minute power nap. Michael Grandner, Ph.D., director of the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona, stated that, “if you nap for over 60 minutes, it’s a sign that’s something’s wrong with your sleep or your health.”
If you’re willing to settle for less than 60-minute naps, you’ll benefit from it. But taking a 20-minute nap can be a better way to avoid the grogginess you can get after a long nap. Overall, naps are a much healthier alternative to an energy drink or a couple shots of espresso.
- Mednick, Sara C. Caffeine or Naps. University of California, San Diego, Caffeine or Naps. Assistant Psychiatry Professor
- “Stages of Sleep: REM and Non-REM Sleep Cycles.” Edited by Sabrina Felson, WebMD, WebMD, 2018, www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/sleep-101.
- Heid, Markham. “Is Napping Good Or Bad For You?” Men’s Health, Men’s Health, 25 Feb. 2019, www.menshealth.com/health/a19533090/is-napping-healthy-or-am-i-too-tired/.