What you need to know:
- Coffee stimulates your nervous system, giving you an initial boost of energy and alertness.
- Coffee can slow down your body time, reducing your overall sleep time and the amount of deep sleep you enjoy.
- Coffee can be very effective in improving your concentration, alertness, and energy. But these effects can be short-lived if you consume high doses of coffee daily.
Are you one of those people who can't function without taking a cup of coffee in the morning? Or must you take a cup of coffee in the evening after a long day of work, to help you relax?
Turns out, this habit might be doing more harm than good.
Coffee stimulates your nervous system, giving you an initial boost of energy and alertness. However, once caffeine's effects wear off, you feel tired and sleepy. This is because caffeine blocks adenosine receptors, a sleep-promoting chemical in your brain, slowing down nerve cells.
Coffee has both positive and negative effects depending on the amount of coffee you take and when you take it.
Positive effects of coffee
Coffee is a central nervous system stimulant. It can have a positive effect on your response, mood, and mental performance. Coffee can keep you alert enough to work when you are short on sleep.
There is evidence that coffee can help reduce anxiety. However, in high doses, caffeine can increase pressure or cause restlessness.
Coffee works best when taken once in a while.
Effects of coffee on sleep
Coffee affects your ability to fall asleep and reduces the time and quality of your sleep. Interrupted sleep can lead to sleep deprivation characterised by fatigue. Interrupted sleep also disrupts your daytime performance. In addition, sleep deprivation leads to a significant decrease in mental functioning including attention span, alertness, vigilance, and the speed of mental and emotional responses.
Taking coffee at night can cause insomnia symptoms or can increase existing wakefulness. It can also cause anxiety and poor-quality sleep.
If you take coffee six hours before bedtime, you may still feel the effects when you go to bed.
Coffee can slow down your body time, reducing your overall sleep time and the amount of deep sleep you enjoy.
When you drink coffee, your stomach and small intestine absorb caffeine and redistributes it through your bloodstream to other parts of your body, including your brain. Once caffeine reaches your brain, it sticks to your adenosine receptors.
When caffeine binds to your adenosine receptors, your brain stops processing it. Once the effects of caffeine decrease, there's adenosine build-up on your brain's receptors, which can make you feel tired.
Benefits of good sleep
During deep sleep, the tissues in your body are repaired, and your brain stores new information and gets rid of toxic waste. Sleep deprivation interferes with your attention, weakening the ability to complete cognitive tasks that require attention. Good sleep can enhance problem-solving skills, improve memory performance, and can improve your productivity.
Sleep quality and duration can have a significant impact on many aspects of your health. Sleep helps your body and mind relax and recover energy. When you are deprived of sleep, your body releases stress hormones that can cause you to react in less productive ways.
Prioritising good sleep is self-love
Since coffee can be both helpful and harmful depending on the dose, find a level of consumption that is healthy for you. Coffee can be very effective in improving your concentration, alertness, and energy. But these effects can be short-lived if you consume high doses of coffee daily.
Coffee can also reduce the amount and quality of your sleep. These effects can take place even when you are unaware of them. When the effect wears off, you may feel tired and sleepy as you experience the effects of adenosine build-up, dehydration, decreased blood sugar, and more.