Take a Coffee Nap: It's Better than a Coffee or a Nap Alone

If you're feeling a bit sleepy, a coffee nap could be just the thing. Half coffee, half nap, having a caffeine drink just before a nap gives you a little shuteye followed by the full benefits of caffeine. 

If you're feeling a bit sleepy, a coffee nap could be just the thing. Half coffee, half nap, having a caffeine drink just before a nap gives you a little shuteye followed by the full benefits of caffeine. By happy coincidence, the amount of time it takes caffeine to affect the brain--about 20 minutes--makes for a nap that recharges your batteries without carrying you over into deep sleep, risking grogginess as a result of what scientists call "sleep inertia".

Studies in the UK and Japan have found that individuals who take a coffee nap perform better on cognitive exercises and memory tests than those who take naps or drink caffeine alone. Recent advances in neuroscience help explain why. When caffeine hits the brain, it competes for space on neuro-receptors with similarly-shaped molecules called adenosine. A byproduct of brain activity, adenosine accumulates throughout the day and eventually makes you feel tired. Thus taking a nap can clear receptors of some adenosine, preparing the way for a fuller caffeine effect. 

Because there is a small window of time to rest during coffee naps, concentrated caffeine is recommended, such as espresso or iced coffee. And despite decades of attempts to find something inherently bad about caffeine, humans metabolize it such that, for adults, there are no real problems, says NYU professor of nutrition Marion Nestle:

Read more at Vox

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How to make a black hole

Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.

  • There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
  • CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
  • Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
  • Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.

10 paradoxes that will stretch your mind

From time-traveling billiard balls to information-destroying black holes, the world's got plenty of puzzles that are hard to wrap your head around.

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  • While it's one of the best on Earth, the human brain has a lot of trouble accounting for certain problems.
  • We've evolved to think of reality in a very specific way, but there are plenty of paradoxes out there to suggest that reality doesn't work quite the way we think it does.
  • Considering these paradoxes is a great way to come to grips with how incomplete our understanding of the universe really is.
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In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.

Credit: EAST Team
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  • The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
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