Whether you prefer coffee or tea, getting a daily dose of caffeine is a ritual for many. Some find it hard to start the day without a little caffeine boost. Others can’t imagine making it through their afternoon without having a bit more.
Caffeine can provide a number of benefits to the mind and body, but it can also cause some issues. To better understand when you should, or should not, have a little more, consider how caffeine works in the brain.
Increased Mental Alertness
The reason most people begin their day with caffeine is for increased mental alertness. Regardless of how you slept the night before, caffeine can increase your overall ability to focus, as well as maintain attention over a period of time. But these benefits are part of a delicate balance.
If you consume too much caffeine, you may find those benefits diminish. Caffeine overload can decrease your ability to focus, and can make it more challenging to pay attention to the task at hand. The amount you need to consume to experience the benefits, without overdoing it, depend on your regular caffeine consumption. Habitual consumers will need a higher dose to experience positive results, while non-habitual consumers can get by with less.
The benefits can be applied to work situations, as well as non-work events. For example, you may be able to perform more effectively at your job with a bit of caffeine. You may experience similar benefits while pursuing a hobby at home.
Interrupted Sleep Activities
The consumption of caffeine can also interrupt normal sleep activities. While this can be helpful when you need to stay awake, such as working overtime at the office, it can be harmful if you cannot sleep at the right time.
To help prevent caffeine from denying you a quality night’s sleep, you need to monitor your consumption throughout the day. While many studies focus on the time at which you should stop drinking caffeine, you also need to consider the total amount consumed over the course of the day.
Consuming large quantities through the day can be just as damaging as consuming caffeine too close to your normal bedtime. This is especially true of caffeine consumed in the afternoon.
About Energy Drinks
Many energy drinks tout the inclusion of various vitamins and minerals that are supposed to promote alertness, as well as other natural compounds. It is important to realise that many of these drinks contain high amounts of caffeine, and can include large amounts of sugar. While this can make you feel more energised in the moment, they can also lead to significant crashes later in the day.
Now, not all energy drinks are the same. It is important to review all of the information on the packaging to make sure you fully understand what you are consuming. This allows you to make an educated decision regarding when you should, or should not, consider having a beverage of this kind.
Alternatives to Caffeinated Beverages
If you are looking for a drink without caffeine, there are a wide variety of options from which to choose. Many people do not consume enough water throughout the day, making it an excellent choice. Water can help keep you hydrated, which can also make you more alert throughout the day.
But many people enjoy the flavour of their favourite caffeinated beverages. In that case, choosing decaffeinated options may be ideal. Decaffeinated coffee has all of the taste of regular coffee, without any of the associated caffeine. Many varieties of tea are also available decaffeinated, including flavours that are more commonly consumed in a caffeinated form. This means you can still enjoy your ideal afternoon beverage without the negative effects on your sleep.