Do you reach for a cup of coffee when you wake up in the morning? Many of us do! Maybe it’s the smell, the first cup you drink that tastes so delicious or the feeling of more energy on Monday morning that you look forward to? There are a variety of reasons that people enjoy coffee and like everything in life, it is fine in moderation for adults to consume. Of course, children must avoid coffee completely. It can negatively affect the quality and quantity of their nutrition by acting as an appetite suppressant.
As a Sleep Specialist I work with individuals everyday to resolve their most challenging sleep problems. I know people are typically only motivated to cut back on their caffeine habit once they have a clear understanding as to why and how it affects their sleep. Here are common reasons.
- Caffeine acts as a stimulant. The one thing that you love about it is the same thing that is often causing or at least contributing to insomnia – at least when you consume too much at the wrong time of day. It can also increase feelings of anxiety or irritability.
- It stays in your system longer than you think. Caffeine stays in your system between 4-6 hours. However, a quarter of that caffeine will stay in your system for as long as 12 hours!
So what can you do to enjoy your cup of coffee and get a good night’s sleep? You don’t have to cancel all of your coffee dates but instead, be mindful of these important tips to keep caffeine in check.
- Make sure to limit caffeine to no more than two 8 oz. cups per day, preferably before 10:00 a.m.
- Cut down on the amount of caffeine that you consume. Instead try decaf, a half cup of coffee, an energizing herbal tea instead such as peppermint, or decaffeinated green tea.
- Replace your coffee with a healthy alternative. Many of us crave caffeine after lunch when our internal clock causes us to naturally feel sleepy. Taking a short walk and getting some fresh air and sunshine can help us feel more alert. Bonus points for taking a 20-minute nap when time permits.
- Watch for hidden caffeine consumption found in cocoa, caffeinated teas, popular energy drinks, and some soft drinks.
Of course, you will also want to make sure that you have a solid sleep routines in place as well if you are faced with sleep challenges so don’t forget to create a peaceful sleep environment, a relaxing bedtime routine and make sure that you aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
Looking for help with kicking the endless cycle of poor sleep night after night? Schedule a complimentary Discovery call here.
It’s nighttime, yet the idea of going to bed sounds more like a nightmare rather than sweet dreams.
Chances are you likely can not fall asleep or stay asleep and are dealing with constant insomnia. These symptoms include:
- Going to bed at a reasonable time, but laying awake for hours.
- Falling asleep easily, but waking up and are unable to fall back to sleep.
- Or the worst yet, not sleeping at all.
Experiencing insomnia is no joke! In fact Stats Canada reported in 2007-2013 that 43% of men and 55% of women between the ages of 18-64 years of age have trouble going to or staying asleep. Based on what we know about the increase in technology, the constant demands to do more in a 24-hour day, we can suspect that these numbers are on the rise.
There are 2 common reasons that insomnia is becoming a major health crisis
1.Technology: Screens emit blue light which directly interferes with our sleepy hormone, melatonin.
Solution: Many of us do not need to reach for a melatonin supplement, but can become more disciplined with turning off our electronics at least 1 hour before bedtime, keeping our phones out of the bedroom and answering only necessary emails . Even if you fall asleep quickly, the disruption to melatonin before bedtime will increase wakefulness throughout the night.
Additional tip! Rediscover a new passion, draw, read a book, a magazine, take a bath or meditate to replace evening television or scrolling social media.
2. Stress: Although stress is a normal part of our lives, it is not meant to be a constant state of being throughout the day. This only increases cortisol levels. The stress response created by the sympathetic nervous system (also known as “fight or flight”) is great for times when we need to be on high alert as it can help you escape any life threatening situation. However, it also increases blood pressure, damages blood vessels, promotes a build up of fat stores and of course, keeps you wide awake at night if not kept in balance.
Solution: Create a 30 minute bedtime routine so that you have time to unwind before going to bed. This will not only help you fall asleep more easily, but it will also help you to stay asleep.
Additional tip! Give your body the time it needs to rest during the day. Take a walk at lunch, meditate for 5 minutes, read a good book, spend time with a phone call, or visit a friend or a family member.
Of course, if you are struggling with sleep, your health, and increasing stress, you are not alone. I would like to chat more about your sleep challenges so that you can be your best self again! I welcome you to schedule a free Discovery call here