Java in your Lava
Let's talk about coffee- And caffeine!
In Your Sleep
I keep hearing people say "Caffeine doesn't affect me. I can have a cup of coffee and fall right to sleep."
Yes, you probably can, because you're exhausted. The problem is, caffeine stays in your system up to 12 hours. What does that mean? It means that even though you might be able to have some coffee, soda or some chocolate (which has plenty of caffeine in it) and fall asleep, the QUALITY of that sleep is not going to be great.
The caffeine you consume before sleep (or even later in the day) keeps your body and mind 'revved up', so you're not hitting that REM sleep the way you need to. You're not giving your body the full rest and recovery it needs. So you might wake up and be more tired the next day, and need more coffee...rinse and repeat.
Try to keep caffeine consumption to the earlier hours so your body has time to metabolize it before sleep. I know I know, this stinks. But so does being exhausted right?
Substitutes? I won't pretend there's a substitute for coffee. :) And decaf has 12-14mg of caffeine in a 16 oz serving. Stick to decaf tea or water. You can have your coffee in the morning. It will taste so much better!
In The Morning
Neuroscience PhD student Steven Miller explains that from 8 am and 9 am our cortisol levels are at their highest. Cortisol isn't just the "stress hormone"—it's also correlated with our alertness levels. So having coffee when we’re most alert is a waste. Wait until after 9 am to have that first (or third) cup.
In Your Waffles (?!)
Caffeine isn’t just in your tea, coffee, and chocolate. It is regularly added to gum, jelly beans, waffles, water, syrup, and more. "Energy drinks" with caffeine can be aggressively marketed, particularly to young people. Caffeine is even being added to marshmallows, sunflower seeds, and other snacks for its stimulant effect.
Thank goodness that in response to the trend of "added caffeine" in a growing number of products, the FDA is investigating the safety of caffeine and its effects on children and adolescents. In the meantime, you may want to read your labels to see where they’re sneaking it in.