Having to work the night shift — or simply needing to work late in the day on a project before it is due — requires a bit of preparation, namely in getting enough sleep ahead of time. A new study has found an ideal combination of napping and caffeine that researchers claim will better optimize someone for working through the night, helping them perform their tasks and stay on point without getting too tired.
Though many people can force themselves to work late into the night, staying alert during that time can be difficult — and failure to do so could mean failing to properly perform one’s job or producing less than adequate results. Despite this, nightshift work is increasingly common in many industries, including retail, security, and transportation.
According to the University of South Australia, the solution for shift workers is a ‘caff-nap,’ which stands for a caffeinated nap. As the term suggests, this refers to consuming some caffeine (a cup of coffee, in the study’s case), then lying down and taking a 20 – 30-minute nap.
The result is that one will wake up from their nap just as the caffeine is starting to kick in, preventing the experience of ‘sleep inertia,’ which refers to the tired, groggy feeling you may otherwise experience when first waking up. Though the grogginess will eventually go away, it can disrupt one’s work and performance for the next half-hour or so after getting up.
The study involved participants who were given 200mg of caffeine before taking a half-hour nap at 3:30 AM. Compared with the participants who were given a placebo, the study found that caffeinated nappers experienced improved alertness and performance upon waking up.