Both caffeine and sleep have restorative properties. So should you sip or nap? It depends on the situation.
Your head hurts: Drink Coffee
Caffeine is a mild analgesic and improves absorption of other pain relievers, so pair an espresso with aspirin to treat a headache. But beware: Excessive caffeine consumption may increase headache frequency.
You want to run fast: Drink Coffee
Caffeine boosts endurance and speed; estimates put performance gains at 1 to 3 percent. An amateur male doper weighing 170 pounds will need about a cup and a half of coffee one hour before a race.
You’re grumpy: Drink Coffee & Take a Nap
A night of sleep deprivation can make healthy young adults feel depressed. Both coffee and naps can improve mood; combined they’re magical. Swill coffee before a 30-minute nap and wake up happy.
You need to ace a test: Take a Nap
An hour-long nap is “as good as a whole night of sleep in terms of storing declarative information,” says William Fishbein, a psychologist and neuroscientist at the City University of New York.
You’re gambling: Take a Nap
“The sleep-deprived behave similarly to someone with a brain injury,” says William D. S. Killgore, a Harvard psychology professor. Caffeine keeps you alert at 2 am, but it won’t prevent bad decisions.
You need creative insight: Take a Nap
Tales of discoveries made in dreams—or in flashes upon waking—are common, likely because REM sleep facilitates neural connections between disparate ideas. Take an hour.