Coffee seems to be a saving grace lately. Not just for keeping one awake as you now balance your life of remote working with at-home tutoring but it also good for your health. Two cups of the hot stuff can protect your liver and even prevent liver-related deaths by way of promoting healthier gut microbiotas, according to a recent study.
Additionally, the type of coffee you drink —natural vs. synthetic caffeine — can make a big difference. Both natural and synthetic caffeine can improve cognition and mood, but natural caffeine packs more benefits that can even have a massive impact on your production.
No matter what your work schedule is, coffee is likely going to play an important part in the eight hours. For those working abnormal shifts like nights, staying alert can be difficult unless you fully adapt and embrace the schedule into your day-to-day.
If you’re struggling to remain alert and continue steady production, the key to thriving on the night shift might just be in a cup of coffee and a quick nap, according to new research.
Researchers from the University of South Australia found that a cup of Joe combined with a catnap can help people on the nightshift stay alert and even reduce sleep inertia.
Remaining alert is important and eliminating sleep inertia is as well since the grogginess of the phenomenon can have detrimental consequences on performance and even livelihood. While caffeine is often used as a way to combat the urge to sleep, drinking too much can have side effects but the researchers of the study say having the right balance between coffee and a nap can improve your shift drastically.
“Shift workers are often chronically sleep-deprived because they have disrupted and irregular sleep patterns,” said lead researcher Dr. Stephanie Centofanti from UniSA Online in a press release.
“As a result, they commonly use a range of strategies to try to boost their alertness while on the nightshift, and these can include taking power naps and drinking coffee — yet it’s important to understand that there are disadvantages for both.
“Many workers nap during a night shift because they get so tired. But the downside is that they can experience ‘sleep inertia’ — that grogginess you have just after you wake up — and this can impair their performance and mood for up to an hour after their nap.”
Centofanti’s idea for making the most out of both a coffee and a nap is what she dubbed a “caffeine-nap.” A “caff-nap” is when someone drinks a coffee before taking a 20-30-minute nap, which is where the caffeine’s benefits will kick in just as you wake up. For shift workers, she said it’s a “win-win.”
The study, published in Chronobiology International, came up with a small test to see how 200 mg of caffeine — or 1-2 regular cups of coffee — impacts participants before taking a 30-minute nap. Naps were taken at 3:30 am and results were compared to a group that took a placebo.
Researchers said that those who participated in the “caff-nap” ranked higher in performance and alertness, which seems like an interesting idea that could potentially even be applied to the normal workday. As workers generally get tired around lunch or even after consuming lunch, perhaps a caffeine-nap remotely might be the solution to helping workers conquer the slog of the 9-to-5 during the COVID-19 pandemic.