When ever I can, I like to take a nap in the mid-afternoon. I do it because I like naps and justify it because all the evidence says that taking a short nap in the afternoon is healthy.
I also like a cup of coffee around 5 in the afternoon, so even before I read an article that touted the Coffee Nap, I was ready to be hooked.
The trick with a nap is to make it short, twenty minutes, thirty minutes max. Once you cross the thirty minute line – plus or minus, duh – you have slipped from easy to wake from Light Sleep to hard to wake from Deep Sleep. With a Nap of twenty minutes, when the alarm goes off, we wake up refreshed. When the alarm goes off after sleeping forty-five minutes I – anybody, really; you – can barely get up. We are just too groggy and it doesn’t want to go away.
By a happy coincidence, it takes about twenty minutes for the caffeine to kick in after a cup of coffee. It turns out that having a cup of coffee and then taking a nap is much better than either one alone. This has been my preferred nap for awhile.
Growing up, in our family, Ivan Pavlov was – what I can only describe as – a man of interest. I wouldn’t say that we were lost in admiration, but for some reason, Pavlov – of the dog that salivated as a conditioned reflex – was a topic that came up often. As I think about it, it may often have been used as a way to bad mouth our dog as being dumber than us; a proposition that I feel less certain about now.
Anyway, today, after a late lunch, I brewed – well, brewed might not be the right word, I heated some water to 200°F and poured it through a coffee-filled filter – a nice cup of coffee. As I had the first couple of sips of the coffee, I realized I was getting sleepy.
Now that I am awake and ready to go, I realize that I have conditioned myself to get sleepy when I have a cup of coffee. It feels slightly strange and, somehow, just wrong.