3 Good Reasons To Slow Your Coffee Consumption

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How To Drink Coffee Responsibly

BY REBECCA ANDERSON

Caffeine – It’s the peoples drug of choice. On an average day in Australia 16.3 million cups of coffee are consumed. It’s found in a range of everyday food and drinks including tea (back, green and white tea), dark chocolate, some soft drinks, energy drinks, and of course, coffee. But do you really know how it affects your well-being?

Is your morning coffee helping or hindering?

Caffeine works by blocking the effect of the sleep-inducing chemical known as adenosine. This chemical messenger normally builds up in the body during the day and peaks in the hours before bed. When you enjoy that morning coffee, it’s the blocking of adenosine that leads to the feelings of increase alertness and energy.

Caffeine does have some positive effects. Studies show that caffeine results in increased attention and energy, and people who drink coffee have a lower chance of cognitive decline and memory disorders than those who don’t – not to mention the social benefits including routine, comfort and socialising. BUT. Caffeine can have some pretty nasty side effects …

1) Sleep

Did you know that it takes at least six hours for the caffeine from a cup of coffee to leave your body? Caffeine can affect how long it takes you to fall asleep, reduce your total sleep time, and cause you to wake more frequently at night. In fact, research shows that caffeine can reduce your total sleep time by around 40 minutes, and you also feel more tired getting up in the morning because your sleep cycle has been disrupted.
Helpful strategies:
• No caffeine after 3pm.
• Have some no caffeine days each week. Abstaining from coffee for a whole day has been shown to result in improved sleep quality, length of sleep and less trouble falling asleep.

2) Withdrawals

If you drink coffee regularly you know that missing out on that daily morning ritual can be more than annoying; it can result in irritability, headaches and gastric difficulties.
Helpful strategies:
• When you wake up, your body produces cortisol from the adrenal glands, which helps to wake you up naturally. Try having coffee mid-morning when these cortisol levels decrease naturally.
• Try having coffee only when you actually need it, like before a long drive or ahead of a busy day of meetings.
• Try replacing coffee with black tea.

3) Anxiety

Caffeine on its own won’t cause anxiety, but if you have an anxious temperament caffeine can speed up your heart rate and leave you feeling ‘jittery’ and on edge.
Helpful strategies:
• Monitor your consumption and stick to one cup instead of 2-4 cups a day.

The overall message: enjoy your coffee, but enjoy it in moderation.

Rebecca is a warm and genuine clinical psychologist registrar who works with her clients to develop a mutual understanding of their difficulties and an evidence-based treatment plan to help them achieve their goals. Rebecca has experience working with children, adolescents, adults, and families, and has a special interest in working with anxiety (including panic disorder, generalised anxiety, social anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder), emotional regulation difficulties, depression and procrastination. She completed her Master of Clinical Psychology at the University of Technology, Sydney and her Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) at Macquarie University, and has been trained in cognitive behavioural therapy, mindfulness integrated cognitive behavioural therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, schema therapy and motivational interviewing.


 

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