How does caffeine affect us? #betterlife

For many of us, a normal cup of coffee each morning can be the perfect way to get us up and off to work early, a simple addition to any breakfast and at times, a much needed pick me up.

MLILY have been working closely with Sleep Scientist Dr.Robin Thorpe in order to delve into the endless information available on sleep and its importance for a healthy lifestyle. Next on the list: caffeine.

‘We know caffeine intake can have desirable effects on alertness and also physical ability, however, timing of caffeine intake is important so that the less desired effects such as issues with sleep and the ability to fall asleep are avoided.’- Dr.Robin Thorpe

With caffeine one of the most widely used and available drugs in the world, studies are beginning to delve deeper into its effect on the human body and sleep cycle.

Our bodies run off an internal clock called the circadian rhythm, a system which controls when we feel sleepy and when we feel awake, usually in tandem with light exposure.

Simple additions to any lifestyle can have an affect on this rhythm, with culprits such as blue light exposure from electronics, evening exercise, sugary substances and caffeine all having the ability to disrupt our sleep.

Our bodies run off an internal clock called the circadian rhythm…

Trials have recently been conducted to delve deeper into the affect of caffeine on our sleep, with some subjects consuming a double espresso before sleep; others exposing their eyes to blue light before rest; and the rest experiencing a placebo.

Through the study it was revealed that caffeine has the ability to delay our sleep cycle by up to 40 minutes, working to keep us awake for longer in the evening before we achieve slumber.

With bright light only extending our cycle by 20 minutes, caffeine certainly exceeds this at double, clearly showing the affect of a cup of coffee on our everyday lives.

Not only did the study go some way to strengthen the advice that caffeine should be avoided in the evening, it also worked to show the extraordinary affect that it can have on our body overall.

‘Recent literature has shown that caffeine intake prior to nocturnal sleep has the ability to delay sleep and adjust circadian rhythm by 40-min, and this is double that of blue light exposure (such as electronic devices) which delayed sleep by 20-min.

This is important data which indicates that we should be aware of the caffeine induced changes in both sleep behaviour and biological processes particularly with negative affects later on in the day’- Dr.Robin Thorpe

So, with caffeine a normal addition to our morning routine yet a disruptive presence in the afternoon, there are plenty of options for boosting energy after midday, without reaching for the coffee machine…

-yoga can be a brilliant way to stretch out those muscles and waken up your senses.

Simple stretches next to your desk can increase blood flow, boost cognitive ability and really work to shake off the cobwebs of the morning.

-take a walk. Opt for taking a lunchtime walk instead of reaching for the coffee, simple exposure to sunlight can not only provide us with vitamin D, it can also help to boost our energy and mood.

-zingy herbal teas such as peppermint and lemon can be a great coffee alternative as they’re naturally caffeine free yet pack a flavour punch.

Discover our list of coffee alternatives here.

Sources for article here.

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