I don't think he's talking about Red Bull or its ilk; he's talking about the small (1 or 2 ounce) capsules loaded with caffeine and zinc. Not much sugar in them compared to energy drinks, and they can be very useful at times if you can handle the sudden influx of zinc.
Was it drink coffee, set 20 minute alarm, nap, jump to work like in the story?
I'm not the GP, but I do this on long drives if I start feeling a bit bleary. I'll pull into a rest area, drink a bit of something caffeinated (maybe a couple of good pulls on a bottle of Dr Pepper or Moxie), and put my seat all the way back. No alarm needed, as the caffeine slowly takes effect and wakes me up in about 15 to 20 minutes.
It leaves me feeling awake and alert again, and I'll repeat the process every couple of hours.
Note that I broke my caffeine addiction in college when it started giving me miserable headaches, and I rarely consume anything caffeinated today, so a little bit goes a long way for me. If you drink caffeine regularly, you may need more than I do to make this work.