In Daniel Pink’s book When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing he makes a powerful case for naps. Most of us don’t have time for a long nap where we are entering REM sleep and repairing our muscles. However, a 10-20 minute nap can do wonders for cognitive function and alertness.
Pink writes that most of us experience our biggest lull about 7 hours after we wake up, typically that 1-3pm afternoon low point. He favors the nappuccino – downing a cup of coffee and then laying down for 25min. Most people fall asleep in 7 minutes, and caffeine takes about 25min to take effect. The result is a quick nap that rejuvenates you for the afternoon without the sleepiness that often results from longer naps.
This can have a positive impact on not just your cognitive work but also any kind of afternoon workout you have planned, as mental alertness directly impacts how you’ll feel when you head out for a run. You should be able to achieve the same effect without the coffee, but if he recommends coffee who am I to disagree?