Coffee and Sleep

These 2 words usually don’t go well in the same sentence, however, we’re going to tell you why they do. Coffee is in fact a good source of energy for your body and it doesn’t have to effect your sleep if consumed moderately.

Coffee contains caffeine which is a stimulant. This means it raises levels of physiological or nervous activity in the body. It is absorbed through your stomach and small intestine and enters the blood stream. It then travels to your brain where it meets the adenosine receptor. Adenosine is found in the brain and is accumulated during waking hours as it is a product produced from your own alertness. It’s what makes you sleepy as the day (or nightshift) progresses. Caffeine however interferes with this process and blocks it, which is why you feel awake and alert shortly after consuming a nice cup of coffee (with caffeine).

In terms of staying awake on the job or while driving, caffeinated coffee helps extend your wakefulness and alertness. This however is also the reason that you should avoid it preferably a few hours before going to bed.

Now that we’ve uncovered the science behind caffeine and what it does in our body, what health benefits does coffee have to offer us to make it the right choice and how does sleep fit into it?

Jam packed with antioxidants

Coffee has been studied quite a lot and has seen a few ups and downs in terms of healthy and not healthy outcomes. Luckily for all of us who appreciate our coffee, the science has shown coffee has a lot to offer us, antioxidants to start with. Unprocessed coffee beans have been found to pack more than 1000 antioxidants with hundreds more developing during the roasting process. Because coffee is so widely consumed in our society it makes our cup of brown energy a leading source for consuming antioxidants!

Our current society is always looking for super foods which pack a lot of antioxidants, but why are we so keen on this additional substance in our foods? Well antioxidants are a substance that may protect your cells against free radicals. A free radical is a molecule which is produced when your body breaks down food or even when you’re exposed to smoke. Free radicals in our bodies may play a role with regards to heart disease, cancer and many other diseases. To back this up with in terms of coffee intake, a study has shown that the test group who drink coffee were 19% less likely to die of heart disease and 18% less likely to develop cancer. Another study shows that antioxidants in coffee also have a positive affect in minimizing the risk of developing diabetes type 2 which is also a disease in which free radicals play a role; however studies are showing that coffee, both caffeinated and decaf, can do a lot more in the prevention of this particular disease too.


Coffee is also food for your brain

The research on coffee just keeps getting better in favour of coffee. Research published in Florida in 2012 has shown that regular coffee intake of about 3 cups a day reduces the risk of severe dementia including Alzheimer’s disease.

Although the reason for this is not yet clear, scientists do have a working theory as to the how and why. Without getting too technical, caffeine from coffee prevents a certain process in the brain that may contribute to the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

Research shows that coffee has even more great benefits for your health. However, the above have been highlighted because sleep also reduces the risk to all these diseases and improves overall health and well-being. 

So when we’re looking at coffee and sleep in the same sentence, they make perfect sense together. 

How to make use of coffee and sleep to maximize the health benefits?
  1. Drink coffee moderately, about 2-5 cups a day is more than enough
  2. Avoid coffee a few hours before going to bed, we need our brains to produce adenosine to fall asleep.
  3. Plain black coffee contains what your brain needs, if that’s too strong add a bit of plain dairy milk to soften the taste. Dairy milk contains tryptophan and melatonin which help promote sleep however as there is only a small amount it will not interfere with the stimulant affect of caffeine.
  4. Avoid sugar in your coffee and sugary versions of coffee, sugar causes the well-known sugar crash and will make you even more tired than before. And to top it off, it will also interfere with your sleep quality.

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