Photo cred - Greg Hirson

Coffee and sleeping aren't the most likely of pairs, as the former is usually used in place of the latter, but recent studies have shown that when joined, the two combine to become a serious boost in cognitive performance. They're like peanut butter and jelly, great on their own, but even better together.

To reap the maximum benefits of caffeine and sleep, one should try out what is now being called the "coffee nap." Essentially consuming a quick dose of caffeine via coffee before a quick power nap, the combination works on your brain to get it into high gear in a short amount of time.

Here's the science-y breakdown of the coffee nap, simplified to for us academic plebeians thanks to Joseph Stromberg of Vox:

  • Coffee, after getting into your bloodstream, heads to your brain and fits onto certain receptors to make you feel alert
  • Normally, these receptors are latched onto by Adenosine (which makes you feel tired)
  • A twenty minute power nap (but not too much longer) clears Adenosine levels in your brain
  • By taking a quick nap, your brain removes a bulk of Adenosine and thus gives more room for the caffeine to hit your brain with a power boost.

Sounds too good to be true, but there have been two scientific studies giving credence to the effectiveness of the coffee nap. Loughborough University found coffee nappers performed better in a driving simulation vs. just a nap or coffee, and the same was found in a Japanese study where a memory test was enacted.

To take a coffee nap, the process is pretty simple. Drink a cup of coffee really quickly (so the caffeine doesn't kick in before you hit the hay), rest up for about 20 minutes (no stress if you don't actually fall asleep), and wake up refreshed as hell after 20 minutes have passed. Test it out for yourself and get the process right before midterms hit.

For more on all things relevant, follow Michael on Twitter @MDAlimonte 

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