Do you take caffeine to help stay awake during work hours? If you’re amongst the people who depend on a mug of coffee to keep them running through the day, this article is just for you!
Caffeine is a stimulant, and it increases alertness, but still, you cannot process most of the things around you because it can only do so much. According to research, your shot of caffeine is not an equal and healthy substitute for your beauty sleep.
What Is Caffeine, and Does Caffeine Help You Stay Awake?
Caffeine is a psychoactive drug that stimulates the CNS (central nervous system). It belongs to the methylxanthine class and is legal in almost all parts of the world. It is naturally present in cocoa beans and is an active ingredient in coffee, tea, soda, and chocolate.
Consumption of caffeine is regular the world over. About 90% of adults take coffee every day, and in the UK alone, about 95 million cups of coffee are consumed each day.
A mild intake is considered safe; however, drinking too much Caffeine may raise some concerns. This increases adrenaline levels in the blood, which increases brain activity, creating wakefulness and alertness. It is one of the reasons behind that morning energy you get from coffee.
Biology Behind the Effects of Caffeine
So how exactly does caffeine help you stay awake and create a ‘caffeine fix’?
Adenosine is a molecule that binds to its receptor and creates the feeling of tiredness and promotes sleepiness. However, when you consume Caffeine, it readily dissolves in the bloodstream and blocks the bondage of adenosine. As a result, Caffeine fits into the receptors of adenosine and no longer generates sleepiness.
As a result, the brain releases another stimulant called dopamine. It is a neurotransmitter that plays a vital role in motivation, reward, and movement regulation. In addition, it creates a feeling of wakefulness and lessens fatigue.
Besides this, adrenal glands secrete adrenaline which reduces tiredness. In addition, regular caffeine intake leads to an increase in the number of adenosine receptors which ultimately decreases the effect of caffeine on the body.
Now you have to consume a larger dosage which affects your body physically. For example, if you consume caffeine in the mornings, it will help you prevent drowsiness but ultimately lead to a physical dependency, and it does not create the same results as an eight-hour sleep.
After some time, you would no longer be able to feel energetic even with your morning cup of coffee or tea.
Why Is Caffeine Not a Permanent Solution to Sleep Deprivation?
Caffeine can prevent the onset of sleep and reduce sleep time and efficiency. It reduces slow-wave sleep. Slow-wave sleep is a deep sleep stage that helps you feel refreshed and alert when you wake up.
Caffeine may help you remain alert and pay extra attention to the tasks, but it will not help you recover from exhaustion the same way as sleep.
Besides that, caffeine can only enhance cognitive function, but it cannot ward off sleep. Neither does it fix the exhaustion caused by long-term sleep loss.
When you are sleep-deprived, caffeine will only help your reaction time. So clearly, caffeine is not a healthy substitute for rest and sleep. It’s like a substance that temporarily makes you feel more alert and improves your mood, but that’s about it as it does not improve the ability to do more complex tasks.
You would still need deep restorative sleep to carry out complicated tasks. So, if you depend on Caffeine more often to avoid sleep deprivation, you’ll likely develop a tolerance.
What is Caffeine Tolerance?
Regularly consuming Caffeine develops a tolerance, and your intake increases as it no longer affects you like before. However, you will notice that the same quantity of Caffeine does not help you feel awake, and you will gradually increase the milligrams to fulfill your caffeine fix.
Over time, this will become a daily necessity because you will start craving its effect on your brain. Besides that, high caffeine intake has numerous side effects.
Side Effects of Caffeine
Nothing is an all-in-one solution, and the same goes for caffeine. Regular heavy use of caffeine causes
- Restlessness and jitteriness
- Sleep troubles
- Irregular heart rate and respiration
- Migraines and headaches
Recommended Caffeine Dosage
A safe intake for adults is a recommended dosage of up to 400 milligrams. This dosage would make about three to four cups of coffee per day.
However, the only caffeinated drink is not just coffee. People consume it through energy drinks, sodas, cocoa beverages, brewed tea, candies, and baked goods with chocolate. A supplemental form of caffeine is also available, which is added to foods, so you must check your caffeine consumption.
The Benefits of Sleep
If you can run on caffeine, then why is it necessary to sleep better? The answer is that caffeine cannot replace what happens to the body when you sleep. Sleep helps to make your body function well, and it keeps your brain and body healthy.
An average adult needs about seven to eight hours of quality sleep every day. It is because rest has numerous health benefits that keep you running the next day.
Sleep plays a vital role in consolidating your memory and helps with learning. It also repairs tissues. Another important thing that happens to your brain when you’re asleep is that it processes emotions.
Quality sleep improves the mood and reduces the chances of mood disorders. It is because your mind takes the time to recognize and react a certain way.
Besides that, sleep helps you unwind and lowers your blood pressure. People with a poor sleep cycle are at a higher risk for heart diseases. That is why it is essential to sleep better and improve your sleep-wake process.
If you’re wondering how to sleep better, here are a few tips for you.
- Dim the lights before bedtime
- Practice mindfulness
- Don’t take a mid-day nap
- Don’t work in bed
- Decrease fluid intake
- Keep caffeine away in the evenings
- Avoid alcohol
Caffeine may give you a good head start to the day, but it has its downsides like everything else. Nevertheless, consuming the recommended amount is healthy and can help you with a lot of body functions.
However, consuming a higher quantity of caffeine every day can cause caffeine dependency and sleep troubles, so think twice before you brew that extra coffee cup or grab another soda!