Sleep Inhibitors Part I: Caffeine
The Dreamers Company wants to help you get your best night’s sleep. Good sleep is the foundation of great health, so we designed the DreamTech Sleep Lens. Our sleep glasses block 99.9% of artificial blue and green light allowing your body to naturally produce the sleep hormone melatonin.
One of the side effects of aging is the gradual narrowing of our own horizons. The more we learn and understand the more we choose to disregard information. The more we ignore the obvious. This isn’t, by a rule, a bad thing. We overlook things about our friends, partners, family, jobs, we scan for what we know and like, while ignoring what we don’t. Understanding the psychology behind this wilful blindness can help us fight the impulses of habits we wish we could change.
In order for our cells to move or communicate they require Adenosine 5-Triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the molecule responsible for storing and transferring energy through a cell. We can imagine ATP as similar to an ATM at a bank. Your body can ask for a withdrawal of energy, but you can only take out what is already in your account. As we burn through ATP the, broken down and now isolated, adenosine builds up in the bloodstream and interacts with cell receptors to inhibit neural activity and cause fatigue and drowsiness.
Caffeine is a psychoactive stimulant that tricks your body into feeling alert. It is the most commonly consumed stimulant in the world, used (and sometimes misused) for that little burst of energy to help jump start your system. But it’s just how long that morning cup of coffee can stay in our system that we need to be wary of.
Adenosine and caffeine have an almost identical chemical makeup, allowing the caffeine we ingest to connect to, and block, our adenosine cell receptors – stopping the slow inhibition of neural activity and stopping that drowsy feeling. Through the day that’s great however, caffeine has a half-life of 5-6 hours, which means half of what you ingested will still be in your system 6 hours after drinking a cup of coffee, a quarter still buzzes through you 12 hours later.
There is nothing wrong with enjoying a cup of coffee, there is nothing wrong with drinking a cup of coffee to stay alert while you’re at work. But understanding the science behind caffeine consumption and busting the myths we tell ourselves can help us alter habits we wish we could change. We here at Dreamers believe we all need to reclaim our right to a full night of sleep.