You don’t understand it. You’ve had 7.5 – 9 hours sleep but you’re still tired. You drag yourself out of bed, turn on the jug and wait impatiently for it to boil so you can have your first cup of coffee for the day…and so the cycle continues…
As with most things there is research to show that coffee is beneficial and there is research to show that coffee is detrimental.
But when your body can’t perform a basic bodily function such as sleep then you have to start questioning why. Coffee consumption may just be the culprit.
With the exception of parents with young babies who aren’t yet sleeping right through yet, we should be able to go to sleep, go through all our sleep stages and receive the benefits from each – especially the deeper more restorative stages, and wake feeling refreshed. If we’re not getting enough of these, or poor quality – then our bodies aren’t going to get the rest and recharge they need, we will wake up tired, the day will be harder, nutrition choices will be more challenging because we want those quick high energy “pick me ups”.
Sleep is a major factor in health and well being but sleep is one of the first things sacrificed. And the irony is that if we are getting adequate restorative sleep then “life” can seem so much easier and we are more productive.
One of the most noticeable things that happened when I cleaned up my eating and started supporting real whole food nutrition with nutrition shakes is that my sleep significantly improved. It was easier to fall asleep, I slept right through, and I woke up refreshed. Now, the odd time I can’t sleep it’s because I’m over thinking something.
Full disclosure – I’ve never been a coffee drinker. In fact, I think I have had one in my whole entire life. I didn’t like it, my heart started racing and I thought I was going to faint. I didn’t, but I never had another coffee. I didn’t see the point. Plus, caffeine (and stress) stimulates adrenalin production which in turn stimulates cortisol production (a fat storing hormone)
Obviously there are other factors to consider in regards to sleep – sleep hygiene, what’s on your mind, stress, exercise, but from a nutrition viewpoint there are three main things I would look at first before racing off to the doctor for a sleeping pill prescription.
- Coffee consumption – how much do you consume each day and what time is your last coffee. Caffeine accumulates in your system so the more you drink the longer it stays there. It blocks adenosine, which is required to help you sleep, so the effect that caffeine has is it delays sleep onset, reduces sleep efficiency and increases arousal rate, and reduces slow wave sleep (important for memory consolidation). If you MUST have coffee then reduce to no more than 300mg daily and definitely don’t have it in the afternoon evening. As much as you may think that you can sleep when you drink coffee in the evening it won’t be a quality sleep. That is backed by science.
- Alcohol consumption – just when you thought this was just about coffee – alcohol is not much better. You won’t get into the deeper stages of sleep required for so many restorative processes, even if you sleep right through, and even just 1 standard drink for a 70kg adult has the following effects – increased wakefulness, increased arousal, REM rebound (increased dream or nightmare recall), sympathetic nervous system arousal (tachycardia and sweating), gastric irritation, headache, and of course increased urine production. All non-conducive to a good nights sleep.
- Consumption of Junk – “foods” that don’t serve you. When we consume a lot of unhealthy fats, excess sugar, white flour, excess salt, preservatives, food coloring how on earth can we expect our bodies to function optimally?? Sleep is a necessary function of the human body and we need to give it vitamins, minerals, fibre, quality carbohydrates, healthy fats, proteins, amino acids, phytonutrients, and antioxidants so that it can do everything it needs to do.
Remembering we can’t get everything our bodies need from food alone (although really bumping up the good real whole food choices and reducing the junk is a great start) which is why I choose to support good real whole food eating with shakes and supplements.
Even though I ate relatively healthily prior to starting the shakes, the improvement in my sleep quality was very noticeable after introducing the nutrition shakes in.
But don’t take my word for it. Try it out for yourself, see what happens for you in just 5 days with our low cost trial either at our Lower Hutt Based Smoothie Club or from the comfort of your own home. Most people who have done the 5 days note sleep improvement within the first couple of days.
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