Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on February 27, 2018

How to Drink Caffeine With Strategy to Boost Your Productivity

How to Drink Caffeine With Strategy to Boost Your Productivity

We have a love-hate relationship with caffeine. We all know consuming too much will lead to a crash, and a headache, but we also know it can be a great energy booster in a pinch. Even if you only have a small serving of caffeine, your body will metabolize it out of your system within 8-14 hours, leading you to feel sluggish and sometimes even sick.[1]

    But what if I told you strategically consuming caffeine rather than drinking it habitually could provide an energy reservoir, so to speak, that you could tap into any time you liked?

    Drink caffeine strategically

    Chris Bailey, the author of The Productivity Project, was also sick of the caffeine hangover, but didn’t want to abandon the stuff. So he decided to try something: he consumed caffeine before doing any number of important things. For instance, he would have caffeine before giving a presentation, writing an important article, or just checking off something big on his to-do list. Regardless of what the task was, he made sure it was one that was important and required plenty of focus and brain energy.

    Advertising

    The aim of the experiment was simple: how can you make the most of that caffeinated high before the crash comes? Utilize the period before the caffeine crash.

      Caffeine prevents your brain from absorbing a chemical called adenosine. This chemical triggers the flags in your brain that let you know you’re tired. While caffeine blocks your brain from absorbing the chemical, it continues to build up until caffeine eventually lets your brain absorb it. So at that point, you’re going to suddenly feel as though you’ve been hit by a train and all you want to do is sleep.

      But if you drink coffee, or any caffeinated beverage strategically, you can make better use of that time when your brain isn’t receiving those signals. In fact, you could even rest intermittently before that crash hits.

      Advertising

      What you can’t drink

      Before you start stocking up on sugary caffeine drinks or whip out your Starbucks mobile app to grab a caffeinated frappuccino, let’s get some ground rules out of the way. You can’t have sugary or alcoholic caffeinated drinks. These types of beverages come with their own kind of crash, so layering them on is only going to make that hit of adenosine come on harder and faster, ultimately leaving you feeling even worse.

      Instead, opt for green tea or matcha. These naturally caffeinated teas are full of antioxidants which can help slow and regulate the caffeine crash.

      When to caffeinate

      At this point, you might be brewing a cup of coffee already, but be careful not to use caffeine as a band-aid. The goal is to take advantage of the window of productivity, not to continue to consume it until you’ve gotten through your day and need to sleep. Along those same lines, it’s important to avoid caffeine as much as possible if you’re about to work on something creative; it’s been shown to hurt right-brain-related tasks.

      If it works for your daily schedule, consume caffeine between 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. This is when caffeine will have the greatest impact on your energy, because it’s usually the time of day when you naturally start to feel a little sluggish. And always remember, avoid caffeine less than 8 hours before you go to bed so it doesn’t affect your sleep.

      Advertising

      Pro Tip: Because you know a caffeine crash will typically have you falling asleep about 8-12 hours after you drink it, plan to have a big cup of coffee twelve hours before an overnight flight. You’ll sleep like a baby.

      Who can caffeinate

      Obviously if you want to drink coffee or caffeinated tea, we aren’t trying to stop you. But it is helpful to note that it does affect certain people differently.

      Caffeine has been shown to make introverts perform poorer on tasks that are quantitative and done under time pressure because introverts are more stimulated by their environment; that extra bit of stimulation provided by caffeine can push an introvert over the edge.[2]

      Interestingly enough, it’s been found to have the exact opposite effect for extroverts. If you’re a very outgoing and social person, caffeine before a big task could be perfect for you.

      Advertising

      For ambiverts, or those who fall somewhere in the middle, strategically consuming caffeine will be your best bet.

      What works best for you?

      Some of the strategy involves experimenting. You may find your 6am cup of java gets you to 10am only, but that’s when you typically have some kind of protein to get you through. Others may discover they should drink coffee later – perhaps 9:30am when their cortisol is naturally lower – and it changes their whole day. Regardless of what you discover works best for you, the goal is to time your crash.

      Personally, I like to go to bed around 10:30p.m. I like to make sure to have my caffeine 12 hours earlier so I can hop into bed and fall asleep. Once you figure out what schedule works best for you, you’ll be amazed at the difference a cup can make.

      Reference

      More by this author

      Sam Aloysius

      Self proclaimed chai expert

      29 Exercises You Can Do At (Or Near) Your Desk What’s The Story Behind Those Tattoos and Piercings? Family Style Is Making You Fat Without You Even Knowing carbs Are Carbs More Addictive Than Cocaine? How to Drink Caffeine With Strategy to Boost Your Productivity

      Trending in Physical Strength

      1 15 Flavorful and Healthy Family Meals That are Perfect for Picky Eaters 2 15 Most Effective and Nutritious Healthy Foods to Lose Weight 3 7 Killer Upper Back Stretches to Reduce Pain and Boost Endurance 4 How Practicing Morning Yoga Transforms Your Life (+10 Beginners’ Poses) 5 The Most Effective Weight Loss Workout Plan to Jumpstart Your New Diet

      Read Next

      Advertising
      Advertising

      Last Updated on October 15, 2018

      How to Stop Feeling Tired All the Time (And the Real Causes Explained)

      How to Stop Feeling Tired All the Time (And the Real Causes Explained)

      It seems that more and more of us are facing tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis. In fact, a lot of people assume that being tired all the time is just part of being a busy person living and working in the 21st century.

      Sometimes, the cause is clear – perhaps you’ve been putting in too many hours at the office, or maybe you have just moved to a new home. However, the reason isn’t always so obvious. If you often catch yourself thinking, “Why am I so tired all the time?” this is the article for you.

      I’m going to outline some of the most common causes of tiredness, and tell you how to boost your energy levels.

      Why are you so tired all the time?

      There’re different reasons why you maybe feeling tired all the time, it could be related to your daily habits or even some health issues.

      Lack of sleep

      We all know that a lack of sleep causes tiredness, but did you know that many people don’t even realize that they aren’t getting enough rest every night?

      The average adult aged between 18 and 60 needs at least 7 hours of sleep every night if they want to enjoy optimal health.[1] Unfortunately, 1 in 3 of us aren’t meeting this target.

      A lack of sleep doesn’t just result in fatigue – it also places you at elevated risk of a range of diseases, including diabetes.[2]

      Unhealthy diet

      Your diet has a huge impact on the way you feel. A poor diet lacking in nutrients will leave you drained and fatigued, as will too many processed foods and added sugar.

      Your body requires a variety of vitamins and minerals in order to synthesise the neurotransmitters that regulate sleep, so be sure to eat plenty of vegetables and fruit.[3]

      Advertising

      Eating candy and other junk food can give you a brief energy hit, but you will soon become tired again when your blood sugar levels crash.[4] It’s best to eat healthy meals and snacks at regular intervals throughout the day as this promotes steady energy levels.

      Alcohol and caffeine are best avoided or enjoyed in small quantities because both disrupt your natural sleep patterns.[5] Do not drink them in the evening shortly before going to bed.

      Finally, if you don’t drink enough water, you may become dehydrated. This quickly results in fatigue and a diminished attention span.

      Sitting too much and not moving

      You might think that sitting down would conserve energy but you’d be wrong. Movement is a great way to beat fatigue.

      You don’t have to work out for hours either. Research has shown that just a single 20-minute bout of moderate exercise has an energy-boosting effect.[6] People who spend more time sitting around during the day tend to report getting less sleep at night.[7]

      Regular exercise promotes high-quality sleep because it increases the time we spend in the “deep sleep” part of the sleep cycle, which is known for its restorative properties. Aim to get at least 150 minutes of exercise per week.

      Ideally, you should exercise every day. Avoid exercising in the late evening as this can stimulate your body and make it harder to drift off when you go to bed.

      Stressful life

      We all come up against stressful situations from time to time. You might be under a lot of pressure at work, be facing relationship issues, or be worrying about your finances.

      Stress can wreck havoc with your sleep patterns and not only because your worries can keep you up at night.More than 40% of adults reporting that they only experience “fair” or poor sleep during periods of stress.[8]

      Advertising

      Our bodies produce adrenalin, cortisol, and other “fight or flight” chemicals when under stress.[9] This process is an excellent way of preparing the body for an emergency but it makes getting a good night’s sleep difficult.

      Medical conditions

      What if you have tried to make positive daily life changes yet still feel exhausted? You may have an undiagnosed medical condition.

      The following illnesses can cause ongoing fatigue. Make an appointment with your doctor if you suspect you might have an underlying health problem:

      • Anemia: Anemic patients have a low red blood cell count which impairs the normal circulation of oxygen throughout the body, resulting in tiredness, weakness, and other symptoms including chest pain.[10]
      • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS): CFS, also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis, is characterized by extreme fatigue that lasts at least 4 months. Sufferers often report other symptoms such as joint pain, aching muscles, and gastrointestinal difficulties.[11]
      • Depression: A lack of energy and decrease in general motivation are among the most common symptoms of depression, along with difficulty concentrating and a pervasive feeling of emptiness or sadness.[12]
      • Diabetes: A person with diabetes will frequently feel tired during the day because their body is unable to utilize glucose, one of the body’s primary sources of energy. Aside from tiredness, the symptoms include excessive thirst, blurred vision, and weight loss.
      • Sleep apnea: This condition causes the airway to narrow during sleep, which interrupts a person’s breathing and oxygen supply. The classic sign of sleep apnea is disrupted sleep that causes tiredness the next day. Snoring is a common indicator of this condition.
      • Thyroid disease: Low levels of thyroid hormone (“hypothyroidism”) result in fatigue, weakness, weight gain, a low body temperature and constipation. This is because the thyroid hormone is responsible for regulating the body’s metabolism. An imbalance triggers a cascade of physical and psychological symptoms.

      How to stop feeling constantly tired and feel energetic

      Here are 7 proven ways to tackle the cause of your tiredness and help you sleep better and wake up more energectic every day.

      1. Unwind & de-stress

      Everyone deals with stress in their lives but it’s how you react to it that matters. If you find that you’re getting stressed consistently, it’s time to make the effort to do something about it.

      There are many ways you can do this but if stress is consistent, your de-stressing habits must be consistent too.

      • Change your perspective. Sometimes stress is all about your mindset. Try to view a stressful situation in a different way by finding an alternative positive slant. If your commute to work is full of cancellations or roadworks, decide to see this as a perfect time to read a book or listen to uplifting music. It’s all about shifting your focus to the positive.
      • Buy a plant. Researchers have found that simply being around plants can induce your relax response. One Washington State University study found that a group of stressed out people who entered a room full of plants had a four-point drop in their blood pressure. Being around nature in general has a calming and therapeutic effect on our brain. So even just taking a break to sit in a park or by a tree can decrease your stress levels.
      • Go for a short walk. A walk will help to clear your head and boost endorphins, helping to reduce stress hormones.[13] If you’re at work, walk up and down the stairs a couple of times or walk around the block. Try to get a longer walk in every now and then to really get a boost. You can be mindful of what you see around you, or download an audiobook to help pass the time. Again, shifting your focus away from stressful thoughts.
      • Laugh. Go on, you’ll feel better instantly. Laughter activates your body’s stress response, then quickly cools it down, leaving you feeling relaxed. Take time out to watch a funny video clip, dig out your favourite comedy or ring up that friend who always makes you laugh. Laughter really is the best medicine!

      2. Eat healthier

      The foods that we eat (and don’t eat) have a huge influence on our health. When it comes to our sleep patterns, food influences our circadian rhythm, the 24-hour cycle that our body follows each day. So it’s important to watch what we put into our body.

      You can easily sleep better by making a few changes to your diet:

      • Eat peanuts. If you have difficulty falling asleep, eat more peanuts or natural peanut butter. A rich source of niacin, peanuts help to increase the release of serotonin (which makes us sleepy).
      • Eat cherries. Cherries are one of the few natural foods to contain melatonin (which controls our body clock). One study found that drinking tart cherry juice resulted in improved sleep quality and duration.
      • Try dark chocolate. Dark chocolate helps to relax your body and mind. Make sure you stick to dark chocolate as milk chocolate contains tyrosine which converts into dopamine and acts as a stimulant.
      • Avoid alcohol. Any kind of alcohol is bad for your sleep. One study found that mixing a single glass of vodka with caffeine-free soda at bedtime increased the amount of time women spent awake during the night by 15 minutes.

      3. Avoid caffeine

      Sure, caffeine can give you a bit of a boost in the short term, but you could drink over eight cups and still feel sluggish.

      Advertising

      And the side effects of caffeine consumption? Headaches, irritability and dehydration. When you’re already feeling drained and crappy, the last thing you want is to feel worse! Here are some surprising ways caffeine is slowly harming your health.

      Instead, try drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Your brain will feel alert and energised naturally rather than relying on a stimulant like coffee. Also consume energy-boosting foods, like almonds, oranges, salmon, spinach, or blueberries.

      4. Get some sun

      Just fifteen minutes in the sun increases your vitamin D levels, which, along with vitamin B is responsible for fighting fatigue. A common symptom of vitamin D deficiency is feeling tired, moody, achey and stressed. Get outside in the sunshine!

      5. Work out

      Too much time spent sedentary drains your fuel tank.

      I know, I know—when you’re feeling tired, the last thing you want to do is be active and move about. But you’ll be amazed at how better exercises makes you feel.

      According to a recent study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, women who get 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week report less fatigue and more energy that those who don’t.

      On the flip side, you can have too much of a good thing. Excessive physical activity can leave you pushing your body, resulting in feelings of tiredness.

      Try to find the balance between activity and rest.

      If you’re wondering when is the best time to exercise, check out this article: Which Is Better: Morning Workout Or Evening Workout?

      Advertising

      6. Have a power nap

      There are numerous benefits of napping, including improved alertness, learning, memory and performance.

      The benefits of a quick power-nap at work have proved to be so good that companies such as Google and The Huffington Post have installed designated sleeping zones in their offices!

      However, author of Take a Nap! Change your Life says that napping for more than 20 minutes will make you feel even worse. Make sure you set your alarm!

      Check out this article if you want to maximize the effect of a nap: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

      7. Switch off

      Eight out of ten of us keep our mobile phones turned on overnight. According to Ofcom, around half the population use their phones as an alarm clock too.

      Experts are concerned that using phones and other electronics before bed cause problems with our sleep. Research has shown that the bright light emitted from electronics and smartphones seriously mess with our sleep behaviors.

      Their advice is to cut back on TV, computer and mobile phone time after 8 p.m. It’s better to read a book or just listen to some relaxing music before you go to sleep.

      Summing it up

      If you find stress is influencing your quality of life on a consistent basis, it is definitely time to rethink your habits. Be aware of how you react to stressors and create habits that change your negative perspectives and physically banishes stress in your body.

      Exercising, switching off, and being more mindful of what you eat creates more energy and counteracts your stress mechanisms.

      Decide to make changes today and give yourself the best support you can to improve your wellbeing and stop feeling tired all the time.

      Featured photo credit: Cris Saur via unsplash.com

      Reference

      Read Next