How Does Caffeine Work?Caffeine stimulates your body’s central nervous system, increasing alertness and reducing fatigue. Once ingested, caffeine takes effect within 15 to 20 minutes, and half of that caffeine can remain in your system for six or more hours. This is what experts describe as caffeine’s half-life, and it is not a fixed figure. It is the amount of time it takes caffeine to work its way out of your system. This can vary from four to six hours, or more, but seems to average around 5.7 hours. So, if you consume 200mg of caffeine at mid-day - a large americano - you would still have 100mg in you at around 6pm. This starts to explain just how and why coffee can impair healthy sleep.
What Does Caffeine Do to your Body?Your individual sleep-wake routine will also play a role in the timing of your caffeine consumption. If you’re an early-to-bed person, a 3 PM cup of coffee may upset your normal sleep regimen. To avoid nightly sleep disruptions due to caffeine, work back 10 hours from bedtime to find your caffeine cut-off time. It might be earlier than you think. Caffeine also stimulates the production of adrenaline, an alertness-boosting hormone that is linked to your body’s fight or flight response. An increase in adrenaline raises your heart rate, increases your breathing and brings on a state of increased vigilance and alertness. Caffeine also blocks the effectiveness of adenosine, a chemical that helps to bring on drowsiness and to regulate your sleep-wake cycles. Over-caffeinating can reduce time spent in deep sleep, the phase that is critical for physical and mental rejuvenation.
What Steps Can You Take?If you are or have been an avid coffee or energy drink consumer then you are aware of how addictive caffeinated beverages can be. Caffeine is a psychoactive drug which means it's medically classified in the same category as cocaine. While moderation is definitely one of the ways to reduce caffeine dependance, it's worth looking at alternatives like adaptogens that are not addictive. Adaptogens are herbs that increase your ability to cope with stress. This is because Adaptogens work as nerve tonics that calm the nervous system and deeply nourish tissues and fluids in the body. Most of them also have amazing brain-protecting qualities.
So, what are the best adaptogens?
1. Rhodiola and Ashwagandha
They are both useful for combating fatigue and stress, reducing depression and soothing a jangled nervous system. While Ashwagandha is soothing, Rhodiola has the ability to restore. In this tandem, they have an amazing power in aiding study, improving work performance and pepping up performance on the sports field. Both Rhodiola and Ashwagandha extracts can be found in Unplug, a natural sleep supplement by Motion Nutrition that soothes the nervous system to make you feel less anxious and more confident during the day.
2. Gotu Kola and Brahmi
Another powerful Ayurvedic set includes Gotu Kola and Brahmi (Bacopa Monnieri). These herbs are incredible at improving cognition and sharpening memory. Thanks to their strong memory-enhancing abilities, they are both currently in the spotlight as a natural treatment to help slow age-related decline and diseases, such as Alzheimer’s. Both Gotu Kola and Brahmi extracts can be found in Power Up, a mental energy supplement from Motion Nutrition that maximises focus and helps you remember names, numbers and places.
3. Korean Panax Ginseng
Panax Ginseng is a slow-growing plant with fleshy roots that has been shown to stimulate mental activity in people who feel tired. It is known as the Fountain of Youth among the Chinese and is now increasingly used to support the treatment against Alzheimer’s. Its extracts can be also be found in our mental energy supplement Power Up. In fact, Power Up users, on average, reduce their caffeine dependence by 20% after 4 weeks of use.