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 are 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.
Caffeine is NOT addictive, but it sure is habit-forming. You don’t hear about coffee addicts robbing stores and hijacking motorists to get money for a fix. That’s because while caffeine does cause dependence, it isn’t in the same category as opiates or alcohol.
It seems caffeine may enhance memory and learning, but not if it is taken before the lesson is to be learned. Research from a few years ago says caffeine should be taken after that important business meeting, crucial college lecture or other knowledge-imparting event you need to recall.
Some studies show a benefit from caffeine on memory, some show none. Same with alcohol. But it seems scientists find with few exceptions that good diets promote healthy minds and bodies.
Three thousand five hundred calories in one meal. Maybe you’re so tired after all that turkey, stuffing, potatoes, cranberry sauce and pie because it’s a big job just lifting the fork to your mouth so many times and chewing all that food.
Or maybe, just maybe, it’s those celebratory beers, cocktails or glasses of vino.