Coffee Power Nap
As usual, it’s about neurotransmitters. Specifically, it’s about adenosine, which is responsible for the feeling of fatigue and for the slowdown of the central nervous system. Caffeine is a molecule that partly resembles adenosine. In short, it binds to the receptors in the place of adenosine, cheating them and accelerating the functioning of the nerve cells. That’s why we feel that “boost of energy” after drinking a coffee: the boost is directly proportional to the number of caffeine molecules bound to the receptors – that is, to the amount of the coffee we drank.
When we sleep, adenosine receptors are unbound and wait to bind to any available molecule, be it adenosine or caffeine.
And the mystery of the beneficial combination between sleep and coffee is revealed! If we consider that it takes approximately 20 minutes before caffeine reaches our brain, it’s easy to realise that it binds far more easily to the adenosine receptors when they ara unbound – that is, if we are sleeping or resting (half-sleep is enough!).
What happens when we wake up then? Caffeine, combined with a regenerating break for both body and mind, will act as an actual cognitive enhancer!
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