Via Boing Boing:
The researchers compared sleeping in for 90 minutes each morning to taking a 20-minute nap at 2:30 p.m. or taking 150 milligrams of caffeine (equivalent to about two cups of coffee) at 2:00 p.m…
When the volunteers did nothing, they fell asleep within nine minutes on average when tested at 3:30 in the afternoon. Sleeping late kept people awake only a minute longer on average than did doing nothing. Caffeine worked better, keeping people awake for about 12 minutes longer on average.
But nothing beat a nap. After a 20-minute nap, people nearly doubled the amount of time it took to fall asleep when tested later in the afternoon, indicating that they were no longer sleepy. None of the measures impaired people’s ability to fall asleep at night.
That’s been my experience, too. You can go with low levels of sleep for a long time if you take 20 minute naps during the day.
When it comes to the low levels of sleep, my secret for waking up is taking acetaminophen the night before. It’s a lot easier to talk yourself out of bed if you’re not also in pain.