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I’ll take a black coffee and a pillow, please

Rebecca Firkser
January 23, 2018

Author Daniel Pink has a theory of what will be the next revolutionary trend in the coffee industry: the “nappuccino”. The concept is simple—drink a coffee, then take a 20 minute nap. By the time you wake up, the caffeine has kicked in, and you’re hit with an extra-strength jolt of energy. This sounds so much better than taking herb supplements for an energy-bost.

“The ideal length of a replenishing nap... is 10-20 minutes,” Inc reports Pink said in an interview on the podcast Success Talks. “To turbo charge it, you can take a performance enhancing drug: Have a cup of coffee, then take a 20-minute nap. It is a nappucino.” Considering that caffeine takes about 20-25 minutes to course through the bloodstream, Pink explains that waking up after a 20-minute nap, the caffeine has just started to kick in. “You get a double boost,” said Pink. “I'm guessing Starbucks is going to have little napping stations soon.”

The science behind the nappuccino, or coffee nap as they’re also often called, has to do with the way caffeine affects the body. When caffeine hits the brain, it fits into receptors that typically house adenosine, a compound that can cause drowsiness. Considering that sleep is a way to naturally decrease adenosine, the combination of caffeine with a nap can make someone feel especially alert and focused.

Of course, Pink didn’t invent the idea of a pre-nap coffee. My college roomates and I regularly practiced coffee naps before settling in for a long night of studying, but it’s not just overtired students that stand by the concept. 

In 2015, Vox published a story praising coffee naps with more of a scientific backing, citing several studies that tested the effectiveness of coffee naps. A study at Loughborough University in the UK found that if study participants took a 15-minute coffee nap they performed more accurately in a simulated driving test than they did if they only took a nap or only had coffee. A study executed in Japan found participants did better on memory tests if they took a coffee nap (as opposed to simply taking a nap, or taking a nap and then washing their faces or shining a bright light in their eyes.) Dave Asprey, founder of Bulletproof Coffee (a company based on the practice of blending coffee with grass-fed butter and oil for extra energy), also swears by coffee naps—he of course recommends taking a nappuccino with Bulletproof coffee, but that’s superfluous.

Entrepreneurs are starting to notice a way to capitalize on napping. Earlier this summer a cafe in Madrid called Siesta & Go (a self-proclaimed “nap bar”) opened. Siesta and Go is essentially a hotel that provides beds that can be purchased by the minute or hour instead of per night, though it's unclear if they serve coffee. As Pink hypothesizes, it’s probably only a matter of time until Starbucks opens up their own version.

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