The use of prophylactic naps and caffeine to maintain performance during a continuous operation

Ergonomics. 1994 Jun;37(6):1009-20. doi: 10.1080/00140139408963714.


After a normal baseline night of sleep and a morning of baseline test performance, 24 young adult male subjects returned to bed from 16:00-20:00 prior to a 24 h period of sleep loss. Twelve subjects received caffeine 200 mg at 01:30 and 07:30. Performance tests (correctly completed addition problems, vigilance sensitivity, and logical reasoning correct responses) all indicated maintenance of baseline performance levels in the caffeine group after administration of caffeine while performance declined in the placebo group. Similar results were found for the Multiple Sleep Latency Test and Oral Temperature, which both remained near baseline levels throughout the observation period in subjects receiving caffeine. The results indicated that the combination of a prophylactic nap and caffeine was more effective in maintaining nocturnal alertness and performance than was the nap alone. Of more interest was the fact that the group which was given the combination of nap and caffeine was able to maintain alertness and performance at very close to baseline levels throughout a 24 h period without sleep.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Caffeine / pharmacology*
  • Cognition / drug effects
  • Electroencephalography
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Reference Values
  • Sleep Deprivation / physiology*
  • Task Performance and Analysis*
  • Work Schedule Tolerance*


  • Caffeine