Studies show that a good night’s sleep is important to overall health and well-being. During sleep, your brain is busy “cleaning house,” discarding, rearranging, and storing memories. You awaken the next morning alert and refreshed only if your brain can complete its work. When it can’t, you can experience poor attention span, a decrease in self-control, ill humor, and even poor memory retention throughout the day. Lack of sleep also can contribute to many illnesses and diseases, because we require rest to bolster our body’s immune system. As your Orange County health clinic, we want to help you get your rest and stay well.
Is Caffeine Use Robbing You of Sleep?
While there are many factors that can result in poor sleep, caffeine use is arguably the most well known. Even though we know it, we love our lattes and sodas, and find it difficult to eliminate them from our diets. A little information about how this stimulant works helps to understand why it is bad and how we can limit its affect on us.
How Does Caffeine Interfere?
Caffeine inhibits REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, the deepest of our sleep cycles. It is during REM that the brain processes emotions, in particular. Studies show that caffeine can stay in the system for a full 24 hours after consumption, but the length of time varies from person to person based on body size and metabolic rate. This means that 50% of the caffeine in your morning coffee could still be in your bloodstream 12 hours later. The later in the day you consume caffeine, and the more you consume, the more of the stimulant will remain in your bloodstream and affect your sleep.
Is Coffee the Only Culprit?
Unfortunately, coffee is not the only food we consume that contains caffeine. Teas, sodas, energy drinks, chocolate, gum, and over-the-counter pain medications for headache and menstrual pain also contain caffeine.
Five Steps to Reduce Caffeine Consumption
- List the amount of coffee, tea, soda, and other sources of caffeine you consume on a daily basis. This will give you a base point.
- Reduce the amount of caffeine you consume slowly. Start with a reduction of 1/2 cup per day, for instance, for several days, before reducing another 1/2 cup per day.
- Try to substitute with decaffeinated coffee or tea, or water.
- Reduce the length of time the beverage is brewed, or add more water to the final brew.
- Be sure to track other sources of caffeine, including over-the-counter and prescription drugs, and other foods.
For Costa Mesa Medical Care, Visit a Physician at Xpress Urgent Care
If you are missing sleep and feeling rundown, stop by Xpress Urgent Care for a consultation with one of our physicians. You will be in and out quickly, and on the road to recovery without unnecessary waiting.
If you would like help with your sleep problems or advice on how to stay healthy, or if you would like to schedule an appointment, call our office at 949-548-8400, or visit us at our Costa Mesa medical clinic.