Ah, how we like our morning coffee. The one without which, the promise of a good day cannot be kept! Many of us start the day with coffee, that’s a fact.
Just as we can easily find ourselves at the beginning of the evening having a glass of wine… especially since the reopening of our bars and restaurants!
And yet, these two substances, coffee and alcohol, which punctuate our daily lives, have a direct effect on our sleep.
Let’s start with caffeine, coffee’s number 1 stimulant
Caffeine, present in our dear coffees, belongs to the family of psychostimulants – substances that act directly on the brain. Energy, concentration, alertness…
The consequences take place immediately. So many effects that we look for in taking coffee. But two lesser-known elements are also to be taken into consideration…
The first hidden characteristic of caffeine is its duration of action in our body. For a normal adult, it will have what we call a half-life of about 5 to 6 hours.
This means that after about 5-6 hours, 50% of the caffeine we have taken in is still circulating in our system! And that it will take us another 5 to 6 hours to eliminate the rest…
Suffice to say that if we have a cup of coffee at 2 p.m., it is possible that almost a quarter of this caffeine is still circulating in our brain at midnight. What make it more difficult to fall asleep or simply sleep deeply during the night.
The second characteristic of caffeine is that it can modify the quality of our sleep. So yes, some of us may feel that we are not sensitive to it. And claiming to have a series of espressos at dinner, while sleeping very well at night!
But that’s just an impression! Caffeine causes a decrease in the amount of deep sleep, as well as stages 3 and 4 of the sleep cycle. In other words, phases of restorative sleep, which give us the feeling of being rested.
What about alcohol?
Alcohol is probably the most treacherous! If it makes us believe that it makes it easier to fall asleep, it harms our sleep in 3 different ways…
First of all, alcohol belongs to the family of sedatives. And a sedative is the exact opposite of natural sleep… it does not allow the brain waves produced by deep sleep.
Another consequence is that alcohol fragments sleep. It can indeed trigger or activate what is known as nervous system leakage, causing us to wake up more frequently during the night! Finally, alcohol has the ability to block our REM sleep – also called dream sleep.
The one that offers us a series of benefits such as our emotional or mental health, but also all our creativity! We wouldn’t want to do without it, would we?! It is therefore not a question of stopping living, but of making an informed choice on the best way to live by privileging our health and quality sleep!