“I drink coffee, but I don’t lose sleep at night.” “Drinking alcohol is better for sleep.” Currently, there are still many different views on the positive or negative effects of coffee and stimulants on sleep. Let find out their impact on sleep!
From a professional perspective
Coffee has been known to be a drink to “start a new day” in our country. According to BMI research, Vietnamese people consume an average of 1.5 kg of coffee (about 75 cups of coffee) a year. The active ingredient in coffee is caffeine, a central nervous system stimulant. Besides the positive energy that coffee brings, the consumption of large amounts of caffeine each day also brings significant side effects. When caffeine enters the gastrointestinal tract, it does not digest immediately, but quickly penetrates the intestinal walls into the bloodstream and stimulates the stomach to increase acid secretion causing diarrhea. Upon reaching the brain, caffeine causes increased secretion of norepinephrine, which increases the heart rate, leading to a feeling of restlessness, tension, and insomnia.
Laura Cipullo, an American dietitian, once shared on CNBC on the perfect time to drink coffee. She pointed out: “When we wake up, hormone levels of cortisol – also called stress hormones – in the body are very large. You will feel anxious and tired. But if you drink coffee right now, the effect of cortisol will only increase and make you feel more tired later. The best time to consume coffee will be a few hours after waking up, between 9 to 11 am. ”Also, avoid drinking in the late afternoon or evening hours.” Cipullo said that although the effects of coffee reach its maximum within 30-60 minutes after drinking, caffeine can stay in the circulatory system and keep us awake for the next 6 hours.
Drinking alcohol on weekends has become a habit of Vietnamese office workers. Many people believe that alcohol helps them to go to sleep easier. Indeed, alcohol can make you fall asleep quickly, but you wake up in the middle of the night, feeling tired and sluggish.
Irshaad Ebrahim, Medical Director at London Sleep Center, said the immediate and short-term impact of alcohol is to reduce the time needed to sleep, to cause insomnia, to sleep without sleep by sleeping while drunk can cause heart rate and nervous system to function more than usual. Besides, alcoholic drinks are also diuretics, which stimulate the body to release fluids. Alcohol can also dilate blood vessels in the skin, causing an increase in heart rate causing you to sweat more than usual, thereby making you thirsty.
Energy drinks and carbonated water
When it comes to things that affect sleep quality, we often ignore the impact of carbonated water, but this is also a silent assassin. This drink affects the digestive system, produces CO2, causes abdominal distention and bloating. Carbonated also increases the risk of overweight and obesity. When drinking at night will stimulate urination a lot leading to insomnia, health effects.
How to sleep well after drinking a stimulant
If you can’t deny your colleague’s invitation or your “craving”, then you can consult the following series of tips to make going to bed easier.
Step 1: Create a completely quiet environment
You should create a completely relaxed environment. That means no internet, TV or mobile phone. A playlist of gentle music with natural sounds like rain, waterfall, or birdsong in the forest will soften the state of excitement in the brain. A pair of soft pillows and mattresses will be recommended for this step.
Step 2: Exercising gently
Regular exercise will help you have healthier sleep. Doing a few gentle movements before going to sleep will help stimulate the production of serotonin, a sleep hormone. Ideally, walk around the house or go into a yoga movement on your own bed.
Step 3: Drink a cup of warm milk
Immediately after the light exercise, drink 1 cup of warm milk. Milk is an abundant source of tryptophan, a type of amino acid that transforms into serotonin and converts into melatonin. These are important substances that help form good sleep.
Step 4: Actively relax your mind
Sometimes it is your worry about insomnia that will make these steps ineffective. First, stop worrying about sleep. Do not look at the clock and calculate how long you have been deprived of sleep. Close your eyes and try to imagine relaxing scenes like waterfalls or beaches. Focusing on those sounds will lead you into your dreams all the time.
Coffee or stimulants should still be used in some necessary cases. But, use it properly, and at the right time so as to not affect your health and sleep.
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