Caffeine. Sometimes, it’s a love-hate relationship. It keeps us awake when we need to (read: all-nighters), but it can also keep us more alert than we’re supposed to.
For something we consume regularly, caffeine tends to consume us back. We enjoy it so much to have one, two, three cups of our favorite caffeinated drink, only to realize the consequence when that 1 AM moment hits.
Caffeine can be a much-needed boost – that’s common knowledge – but we’ve never really paid much attention to how it works.
That’s what this article’s for. We’re going to dive deep into caffeine and how it affects sleep.
Want to hear something shocking?
Having your caffeine fix first thing in the morning will NOT perk you up.
But the good news is, you no longer need to make that sluggish early morning trip to the coffee-maker daily, nor join that long rush hour queue in your go-to café.
If you’re wondering whether we’re pulling some sick April Fool’s joke in the middle of August, there’s actually scientific evidence to all of this.
In the 1990s, the Loughborough researchers measured brain waves of subjects in driving simulators. The caffeine nap worked better than anything at eliminating mid-afternoon drowsiness and preventing driving errors than in all of the other controlled groups they studied.
Sleep before exams or other important milestone can be elusive. With final exams coming up in December for college and high school students, we’ve collected some advice and wisdom from here and there on the Internet on what to do if you can’t sleep before an exam.
The ancient Romans had a god of sleep, Somnus, whose name gave us the word somnolence, which means sleepy. Somnus was a pleasant, smooth god in contrast to Death, who was thought to be vicious and grasping. “Somnus is the twin of Death, and is a pleasant youth, carrying a poppy and a horn from which he dispenses sleep.”
Sleeping longer should make you feel great, right? So why does it sometimes make you feel tired? The Sleep Doctor, as Michael J. Breus, is known, answers this question in an article on Huffington Post and on his own Twitter account.
The average person spends about one-third of his life sleeping. As much as people love sleep, maybe you don’t want to spend any more than one-third of your life in it so as not to miss all the excitement.
Unless you work outdoors or indoors in a job where you are physically active all day, it can be difficult for some people who have desk jobs to stay awake at work without caffeine.
Maybe the most important thing you can do to make sure you don’t nod off at work is to get a good night of sleep, at least 7 to 8 hours, at a regular time every night. Boredom can also cause you to nod off. Other than getting a good night’s sleep and having a fascinating job, there are things you can do to stay awake.
How do investment bankers stay awake on their 18-hour shifts?
Investment bankers work such long hours that many resort to chemical stimuli. There have been rumors of methamphetamine and cocaine use among investment bankers to burn the midnight oil. Other investment bankers take Ritalin or Adderall, which are given to children with ADHD but which are stimulants for adults. But the mainstay is probably coffee, energy drinks and other concoctions containing caffeine.
Many people fall asleep on their commute on the subway, but sleeping on trains isn’t restful and can be dangerous. In New York City, half the subway crime victims were asleep when they were victimized.
The Internet is full of warnings about falling asleep on the train and also advice about how to fall asleep (or stay awake) on a train or bus. It’s kind kind of conflicted.
Another reason people get sleepy after caffeine is that people can build up a tolerance for caffeine, a stimulant and the most-consumed mood-altering substance in the world. It’s like alcohol. After months of years of heavy drinking, you need more to get the drug’s full effect.
Yet another reason people feel sleepy soon after taking caffeine is that it may wear off, and, as Men’s Health puts it, “The high comes with a crash.”
Balancing sleep, caffeine and alcohol can be like walking the high wire. The National Sleep Foundation calls caffeine and alcohol “sleep stealers.” But studies show they are beneficial in moderate amounts.
6:38 a.m. That hour comes all too early, especially if people were drinking the night before. It’s the time when the average American awakens after an average night of 7 hours and 36 minutes of sleep. And the first thing most people do in the morning is brew a pot of coffee.
Sages and philosophers from various world traditions have counseled “Everything in moderation,” and, stated another way, “Nothing in excess.” These aphorisms apply to caffeine, too, because too much of this otherwise beneficial chemical can cause insomnia, nervousness, muscle tremors and stomach upset.