This is why you're so tired
If you consider coffee to be "the best part of waking up," you're not alone.
Sometimes, it's exactly what you need to get you going and keep you alert and sharp throughout the day -- especially after a restless night of sleep.
But if you're drinking cup after cup of that morning pick-me-up... one morning after another... there's a reason why you may still feel wiped out.
Because according to a new study, while caffeine can be helpful as an occasional stimulant, it is by no means a replacement for a good night's sleep.
Eventually, there's not a thing that caffeine can do about night after night of not getting enough rest.
A study recently published in the mainstream journal Sleep restricted the sleep patterns of healthy, well-rested volunteers to just five hours a night each, for five consecutive nights and then gave them either a placebo or 200 mg of caffeine twice daily (the same as in about four cups of coffee over the course of the day).
After the first couple of nights of insufficient sleep, the caffeine group fared better than the placebo group on tests of their mental skills.
But here's the kicker: By day three, volunteers became almost immune to the stimulating effects of caffeine and appeared to succumb to their sleep deprivation. And when given the mental tests, their performance was no longer significantly better than the placebo group.
In fact, by the end of the five days, the caffeine group reported themselves to actually be MORE ANNOYED than the placebo group!
We know that sleep tends to get disrupted more the older we get, but if you haven't gotten at least seven hours of shuteye for a few nights in a row, it's time to try to get more quality sleep... rather than drinking caffeinated beverages (or taking caffeine pills) to try to stay awake.
Besides, the more caffeine you drink, the more it can interrupt your sleep the next night!
If you snore -- or you share a bed with someone who does -- it's no wonder that you don't ever feel rested! Find out if sleep apnea is the cause of the sawing logs... because if it is, it can usually be alleviated by losing weight or using a CPAP machine to aid the breathing.
In the absence of a sleep disorder, there are drug-free remedies that can help regulate your sleep patterns naturally, like melatonin, L-theanine, 5-HTP, and even chamomile.
If you truly love coffee, you don't have to give it up -- and you shouldn't! Go ahead and drink it in moderation, because it can slash colon cancer risk, protect your liver, and even protect you from diabetes. Just keep it to two or three cups a day in the morning and early afternoon, so it doesn't keep you up at night.
But if your cup of tea is, well, tea, try drinking the peppermint variety, which kicks your brain into high gear without caffeine.
Caffeine's Jolt Can Sometimes Be Short Lived
Caffeine efficacy across a simulated 5-day work week with sleep restriction (Abstract)