ahhhh, coffee. As a shift worker, we all love a good coffee when we’re working these crazy and haphazard shifts to help perk us up when we’re feeling flat as a tac.
But did you know the half-life of the average coffee (which contains 200mg of caffeine) is close to 6 hours?
The term ‘half-life’ means if you had a coffee around midday, then at 6pm, 100mg of caffeine would still be left in your system. This has the potential to disturb your sleep (as if it’s not already disturbed enough), by reducing Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, that beautiful deep and restorative sleep our sleep-deprived bodies so desperately crave, when working 24/7.
Caffeine also triggers the adrenal glands to produce the stress hormone adrenalin, which initiates the ‘fight or flight’ stress response leading to a hyper-aroused state. This causes us to feel tired and wired, and also prevents us from falling into the beautiful Land of Nod.
So whilst we all love a good cup of coffee (myself included), make sure you limit it to the first half of your shift (whether that’s a night shift or a day shift), to help preserve that beautiful thing which so often alludes us when working 24/7, called SLEEP.