Stimulant anyone? Coffee?

Most people love a cup of tea or coffee, right? I know I’m partial to a morning cup and one in the early afternoon. I try to limit myself to two per day as I know that the third one, may just affect my sleep, make me dehydrated and therefore feel sleepy. That said, sometimes I succumb. I’m even writing this sitting in a coffee shop, see figure 1.

 

Caffeine is a psychoactive stimulant, highly addictive and can give you a real energy boost or even a bit of a high. Get the dose right and it can make you much more productive, but ingest a bit too much and that productivity turns into hyperactivity, lack of focus on a single task and even anxiety. For these reasons, it’s really important to monitor your feelings around coffee. I’ve worked with individuals who simple abuse the substance, where reliance has become and issue and has become a hindrance to multiple systems and functions during their day to day.

Genuinely writing about caffeine whilst sitting in a cafe drinking a coffee, being "that guy". For the record, I'm disappointed in myself :)

The reason many list as their primary reason they go down this path is that coffee wakes them up, and that several points in their day they need that caffeine boost, even later into the afternoon or early evening.Needless to say these people often have issues with sleep latency (time taken to fall asleep) and frequently waking, especially in the earlier portion of the night. Don’t get me wrong, there can be many reasons for this but one thing that doesn’t help is their caffeine use.

 

Caffeine is a diuretic which means it makes you expel fluid.With increased caffeine uptake means more fluid is expelled, if this fluid is not replaced with non-caffeinated or non-sugary drinks then we will tend to get significantly dehydrated. This dehydration is an absolute master of disguise, it makes you tired, very tired, at times you would not expect to be. What is the response to this? Quite often it’s more caffeine and the viscous cycle is continued.

 

Our daily recommended allowance of caffeine is between300-400mg each day, and in pregnant women 200mg/day although often it is advised to eliminate it completely. If you’re buying your coffee from coffeeshop chains you might be surprised just how much caffeine is in one drink, and you’ll be getting that large dose in one hit over a short period of time.

 

Starbucks

Espresso 75mg, Tall cappuccino 150mg, Tall latte 150mg, tall americano 150mg

 

Costa Coffee

Espresso 92mg, Medio cappuccino 277mg, Medio latte 277mg, Medio Americano 277mg

 

Caffe Nero

Espresso 120mg, Regular cappuccino 120mg, Regular latte 120mg, Regular Americano 120mg

 

Filtered coffee tends to have more caffeine per mililitre of the beverage than espresso based drinks, but it’s difficult to give general guidance. Also the numbers above are from self-reported means from the coffeeshops listed so may or may not be entirely accurate. I think the important thing at this point is to know that there is huge variety between providers and to raise this to you, for your future decision making.

 

Hopefully this has ignited a couple of thoughts about how you use caffeine and can help inform a couple decisions around future decisions, next time we’ll look into caffeines affect on sleep…. It’s pretty profound.

 

Thanks for reading

 

Barry

@barry.sigrist