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KEY POINTS:

1. Caffeine has been shown to improve memory, attention, alertness, reasoning and perception. However, you need to properly structure your caffeine consumption to optimize your health and performance.

2. Slow-release caffeine might improve resynchronization faster than fast-release caffeine. So consider the type of caffeine you ingest during the day. 

3. Caffeine remains in your system for four-five hours (or more), so avoid drinking it eight hours before you’d like to go to bed.

4. Don’t take more than 1,000 mg of caffeine in a 24-hour period. 

5. Save your caffeine for when you really need it, such as the pre-dawn hours of a night shift or the energy drop in the early afternoon. 

I’ve already mentioned caffeine in one of the sleep articles, but given how much we love our java (and teas and chocolate), I get a lot of questions about the health and value of caffeine. You may even have a caffeine habit up and running to help you with shift work and travel fatigue. So here’s some in-depth information you can use to be healthy and live your best life.

Obviously, crossing many time zones messes with your circadian rhythm and can leave you tired during the day while adjusting to a new time zone. Shift work can have the same effect – you experience daytime fatigue when you need to be alert or need to transition to a regular 24-hour sleep/wake schedule. Caffeine can alleviate daytime sleepiness and have a positive effect on circadian resynchronization when used in combination with melatonin (take a look back at the melatonin tip for a refresher).

Both fast and slow-release forms of caffeine may lessen daytime sleepiness and nighttime insomnia. Tossing a thermos of green tea (slow-release) in your bag for sipping throughout the day can help in reducing shift-work induced sleepiness or travel fatigue and help set you up for a night of sleep.

Also, caffeine has been shown to improve memory, attention, alertness, reasoning and perception. However, there are a few things to consider when using caffeine to help you adjust to work or travel:

  1. Slow-release caffeine might improve resynchronization faster than fast-release caffeine. So consider the type of caffeine you ingest during the day. I mentioned a thermos of green tea above because tea causes a lower spike in caffeine absorption but stays in your system longer, avoiding the caffeine crash that can result from coffee.
  2. Caffeine remains in your system for four-five hours (or more), so avoid drinking it eight hours before you’d like to go to bed.
  3. Don’t take more than 1,000 mg of caffeine in a 24-hour period. That could be about two cups of coffee, depending on what you brew or where you buy your coffee.
  4. Save your caffeine for when you really need it, such as the pre-dawn hours of a night shift or the energy drop in the early afternoon. It’s a more effective tool when targeted rather than consumed all day long.

Living well – with a positive outlook and genuine sense of wellbeing – requires having a thoughtful approach to some things that may have become thoughtless habits. By all means, enjoy your favourite caffeinated beverages. But take some time to absorb this learning about caffeine so you can use it as a sensible supplement to boost your health. 

Today’s POWER-UP

Have a look at the numbers in the chart below to become aware of caffeine levels in drinks and common medicines.

caffeine.png

The information and advice provided in this program is intended to assist Sky Regional employees with improving their general health. It is not intended and should not be used in place of advice from your own physician or for treatment or diagnosis of any specific health issue. Sky Regional is not responsible for the content of this program which has been specially developed and is being provided to you by the Wells Group Inc., in consultation with Sky Regional. By participating in this program you acknowledge that undertaking any new health, diet and/or exercise regime involves certain inherent risks, that you assume such risks, and that you release Sky Regional and the Wells Group Inc. from any responsibility or claim relating to such participation.