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.
How much sleep should you get? It turns out 7 and a half hours of sleep per night is OK for a lot of people. You can fine-tune your consumption of caffeine in the day and alcohol at night to be sure you get enough high-quality sleep.
But, according to Entrepreneur.com , 57 percent of Americans press the snooze button at least once for a few brief minutes of sleep that is never really as good as before the alarm first went off. People who hit the snooze button spend 3 ½ months of their lives dozing after pressing that alarm clock button!
Just a few more minutes of blessed oblivion, right? Those minutes sure do add up.
The morning comes a bit earlier for people in certain professions. Professional who get the least sleep are:
The foundation has advice for getting a decent night’s sleep:
“Sleep stealers”? Who are these people who are trying to take the two things that make life tolerable?? Just kidding.
March 30, 2016
Many of the memes for alcohol and coffee are funny, and they show just how much people enjoy a caffeine or alcohol buzz.
Anyone who has had a hangover, or God forbid is an alcoholic, knows the dangers of drinking.
But what about caffeine? It’s also addictive, but only mildly and not in a life-destroying way like alcohol or narcotics.
Experts and common sense recommend not taking caffeine later in the afternoon so as not to lose sleep. And if you only take about 300 to 400 mg of caffeine in a day, it’s not thought to have bad effects like the headaches, irritability, nervousness, anxiety that come with excess caffeine consumption.
Caffeine is the most commonly used mood-altering substance in the world. About 90 percent of Americans take caffeine in one form or another.
Sleep, of course, is necessary. But adequate amounts of sleep also provide benefits. The National Sleep Foundation article states :
Getting enough sleep improves your health, strengthens your immune system, improves your mood and boosts productivity; chronic poor sleep is linked to poor health, mood disorders and low productivity. Improving sleep in various demographics could make a positive impact on public health.
A sleep scientist speaks on caffeine, alcohol, and sleep in a YouTube video.
And what about that other alleged sleep thief, demon alcohol? Well, it turns out that it has benefits too, if taken in small amounts. And we do mean small.
A Mayo Clinic article states :
Moderate alcohol consumption may provide some health benefits. It may:
Even so, the evidence about the possible health benefits of alcohol isn’t certain, and alcohol may not benefit everyone who drinks.
If you choose to drink alcohol, do so only in moderation. For healthy adults, that means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger.
Alcohol does help people fall asleep more quickly and stay in deep sleep longer, says WebMd , but it does not improve sleep quality, a review of 27 studies has found. Alcohol reduces the time spent in REM sleep that is thought to be so beneficial. And reliance on alcohol to sleep often results in memory problems, sleep apnea, sleepwalking and sleep talking. Again, WebMD reports about 1 to 2 drinks per night are OK.
There are plenty of research studies on sleep and caffeine, and sleep alcohol, and even some on alcohol and caffeine. But we could find none that combines the three. So our non-professional advice is the same as Ralph Waldo Emerson, who said, “Moderation in all things.”
The upshot is if you take the right amounts of sleep, alcohol and caffeine, it won’t hurt you and it may even help. If you can just combine the right amount of caffeine and alcohol with the correct amount of sleep, you’ll be performing like a champ and feeling healthier and more rested.
The question we will leave you with is: What time of day is it OK, if ever, to drink Irish coffee, which contains both coffee and whisky?
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.
Some law students spend 60 hours a week studying. Those who’ve been through law school advise prospective students to leave the Xbox at home so they’re not tempted with potentially ruinous distraction. How do law students get energy to study so much?
One thing many law school students do not do is party and socialize a lot. This has a doubly salutary effect because the time spent not partying is time they can spend studying. And then they are not out of sorts, hung over or over-tired the next day from partying.