Updated: May 19, 2021
I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all been feeling a bit groggier in the mornings, and at lunch, and in the afternoon, and around dinner time. Yes, for many of us around the globe, the overwhelming daytime sleepiness, also known as hypersomnia, has only gotten worse post-2020. It’s so tempting to reach for a good cup of joe to stave off the sand man, but it’s going to be doing you a lot more harm than good.
I don’t know how many I’ve heard say, “Caffeine doesn’t even affect me anymore. I could have a cup right before bed and sleep like a baby.” While you might be able to doze off without any delay after your dose of caffeine, what you struggle to realize is that it’s wreaking havoc on the quality of sleep that you’re getting. Think of it as creating a co-dependent cycle. The caffeine affects your sleep quality, which makes you want to drink more of it when you wake up, which in turn affects your sleep quality even more.
Essentially, caffeine is going to stunt your internal biological clock, delaying its timing and preventing you from entering into deep REM sleep. What does that translate to? A feeling of exhaustion even if you think you’ve gotten a full eight hours. The problem lies within the fact that we’ve created this ‘coffee culture’ in society. Having a meeting? Grab a cup of coffee. Meeting up with a friend you haven’t seen in a while? Grab a cup of coffee? Pulling a long night at work? Grab a cup of coffee. It’s almost been woven into the fabric of our daily lives, and it is incredibly dangerous.
I enjoy a good brew just as much as the next person, but it is a highly addictive substance that shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you already struggle from anxiety related disorders, caffeine is the worst thing you could be putting into your body. As your heart rate speeds up, so too does your breathing; triggering a false fight-or-flight mode response. That ominous feeling as though something bad is around the corner when it really isn’t – yeah, that’s attributed to increased anxiety brought on by caffeine use.
Even decaf has its own drawbacks. Studies have shown that excessive use of decaf products can have just as much of a detrimental effect on your gastrointestinal tract as those that contain caffeine. It is known to cause hyperactivity in the colon; speeding up bowel movements. Not such a great stimulant if you’re on the way to an important morning meeting.
Ultimately, caffeine can have tremendous negative effects on your muscles, your bladder and your heart; causing severe symptoms in those who already struggle with high blood pressure. Building up an unhealthy dependency on the substance means that you’ll be decreasing your productivity as you become more prone to bathroom breaks throughout the day as well as periods of feeling unwell, when you go through crashes or withdrawals. This isn’t just limited to hot bean juice. Energy drinks are just as much to blame for the current hypertension and hypersomnia crisis that we currently find ourselves in, but all is not lost. There are steps that you can start taking today to stave off the caffeine monster, and get onto a healthier path. Your career, and your life, depend on it.
So, what can you do to keep yourself feeling revitalized without giving in to the cravings for something caffeinated? For starters, you’ll want to start limiting your caffeine intake. Seems pretty obvious, but it’s easier said than done for most people. Try to cut back to one cup in the morning and one when you feel the afternoon slump coming on. Don’t have any caffeine after 15:30 or it’s going to have a negative impact on your night time routine. So, no caffeine at least six hours before bed. Remember, the goal should be getting full and restful sleep each and every night. That way, you won’t need the extra pick me up during the day.
In the process, you’re going to have to reset your body and the best way to do this is to keep hydrated. Fatigue is often a sign of dehydration. It doesn’t matter how physically intense or sedentary your daily routine is, there is a minimum threshold for how much H20 you should be consuming on a daily basis. The first tell-tale sign of dehydration will be found on one of your trips to the restroom. If your urine is pale, straw coloured or dark yellow, you could very well be suffering from a lack of hydration.
Water is the source of life. We are born from it, we cleanse our bodies in it, and our bodies themselves are 60% water. In fact, your lungs, which are responsible for keeping you oxygenated and energized are over 80% water in their anatomy. Your brain, which is responsible for just about everything else, is over 70% water. You need to be filling your body with water reserves in order to cleanse toxins that could be causing tiredness and brain fog. How do you expect to perform at your best, if your body is starved of what it needs the most, and hopped up on an electrifying substance?
With our current lifestyle habits, it’s important for women to drink up to 2.7 litres, or just over 11 glasses, of water per day. Men on the other hand should be getting 3.7 litres, or just over 15 glasses, of water per day. The colder the substance, the faster it gets from your stomach to your colon, where minerals are absorbed. If you’re feeling a little on the parched side, the colder the water you drink, the faster you’ll hydrate.
According to Jessica Migala for Healthy Living, there are specific ways to drink water throughout the day to get the most out of it. She recommends drinking two glasses of water first thing in the morning. It will wake you up and get your hydration levels back up to par, before you start your day. She goes on to state that having a glass of water before a meal can help decrease your hunger level, while having one after a meal can aid in digestion. Possibly the most important mention she makes is that the right temperature of water can help fight off a headache and even go so far as to reenergize you during an afternoon slump.
Try to avoid too much water before bed. The last thing you want is the urge to use the bathroom; disrupting your sleep cycle. Have a sip and keep a cup on your night stand.
Try these tips out and let me know how they’ve helped you. Have you found something similar or something to the contrary that helps you? Let me know in the comments.