03 June 2015

Coffee Naps -- better than coffee or naps

In recent years, Japanese 24-hour convenience store chains have pretty much all started to sell freshly brewed hot (and ice) coffee.  Of course, it comes out of a machine ... but you can hear the beans being ground and the entire process as you wait for maybe 30 seconds until the cup fills.  This is a major cultural change in Japan, and a huge improvement from the sugary, processed coffee drinks that used to be one's only option at convenience stores here.

Needless to say, caffeine is one of the very few legal performance enhancing substances for cyclists (within specified limits).   And coffee is great when one gets tired during a long event such as a brevet.

Now, I just came across this Vox article from last August linked from a randonneur grouplist.

It suggests the ideal recovery for an Audax rider is to drink a cup of coffee and THEN take a 15-20 minute nap.  Upon awakening, the caffeine will have been delivered to receptors in the brain much more effectively than if one had stayed awake.  Various studies (including one in Japan) show that the subject is more alert, less prone to mistakes, than without the nap, or with just the nap or just the coffee.

Still, not quite the same as getting a full night's sleep, but a good improvement on coffee OR naps.

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