‘Caffeine nap’ helps to survive night-shifts: Study

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on August 30, 2020 Published on August 30, 2020


The study could help in providing countermeasures to prevent fatigue in shift workers

A combination of coffee and power naps can help reduce sleep inertia and stay alert on the night-shift according to new research from the University of South Australia (UniSA).

“A simple coffee and a quick catnap could be the cure for staying alert on the nightshift as new research from the University of South Australia (UniSA) shows that this unlikely combination can improve attention and reduce sleep inertia,” reads an official release from the University.

As part of the study, researchers tested the impact of 200 mg of caffeine (equivalent to 1-2 regular cups of coffee) consumed by participants shortly before a night shaft beginning at 3.30 am along with a 30-minute nap, comparing results with a group that took a placebo.

Lead researcher, Dr Stephanie Centofanti from UniSA Online and the Sleep and Chronobiology Laboratory at UniSA found that this combination could help counter the effects of sleep inertia experienced by many shift workers.

“Shift workers are often chronically sleep-deprived because they have disrupted and irregular sleep patterns,” Centofanti said.

“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,” she added.

Workers experience ‘sleep inertia’ in simpler terms a ‘grogginess’ during shifts which can impact their performance.

“Caffeine is also used by many people to stay awake and alert. But again, if you have too much coffee it can harm your overall sleep and health. And, if you use it to perk you up after a nap, it can take a good 20-30 minutes to kick in, so there’s a significant time delay before you feel the desired effect,” said Centofanti.

“A ‘caffeine-nap’ (or ‘caff-nap’) could be a viable alternative – by drinking a coffee before taking a nap, shiftworkers can gain the benefits of a 20-30-minute nap then the perk of the caffeine when they wake. It’s a win-win,” she said.

The study could help in providing countermeasures to prevent fatigue in shift workers. Researchers will be testing the new finding on more people.

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Published on August 30, 2020
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