Have you ever woken up feeling demotivated and uninspired that all you wanted to do was curl up in bed and go back to la la land?
Sometimes, all it takes is a good cup of coffee to kick start your mundane morning and it would seem as if the world suddenly becomes a more tolerable place to live. Coffee might also be the first beverage in your list when you are going through an exam period, or when you’re going through immense pressure at work. It doesn’t even have to be coffee; anything with caffeine would do at this point. Your brain seems to be working at its maximum capacity to cram for a test. Your fingers are typing away novel ideas and plans for your next big project. Everything seems to work out, in the end.
That is until… you hit the caffeine crash and you start doubting whether your work was worthwhile or just filled with specious details.
The reason behind this temporary feeling of high and a sudden crash is none other than caffeine.
First, caffeine induces dopamine – also known as the “happy” hormone – in the brain that can uplift our mood. The effects of caffeine are often associated with those of clinical drugs, but the long-term effects don’t seem to match up; the chance for one to be highly addicted to caffeine is little to none.
Then comes every coffee drinkers’ least favourite part: caffeine crash, grogginess and to some extent, over dependency on coffee to function. This is due to an increased adenosine level in the brain after caffeine gets metabolized. Drinking enough water is crucial at this point, to minimize the crash and dehydrating effect of caffeine.
Several studies have also shown that the energy-bearer stimulant – caffeine – is thought to release cortisol. Cortisol is a stress-inducing hormone. So, if you are already in a stressful situation, coffee might be the last thing you would want to consume to ease the stress. Unfortunately, the butterfly in your stomach won’t die- if anything, you would have to go for “number two” which would be an unpleasant experience to an already stressful situation.
While coffee and stress may seem synonymous, it is an essential neurotransmitter; it is naturally released in the morning to wake us up from sleep. Technically, it’s a life and death matter; so, you do need cortisol. However, if you drink coffee when the cortisol is already at peak, the caffeine won’t be as effective. Therefore, drinking coffee right after you wake up might not be the best practice. The best time to drink coffee is when the body’s cortisol level naturally dips which is around 9.30 am to 11.30am, as research has shown.
It’s also important that you eat a full breakfast with a cup of coffee because drinking coffee while on an empty stomach would leave aggravating effects to your digestive organs. Again, “number two”.
When coffee doesn’t seem to give you the energy boost that you need – if all else fails – power nap and a quality sleep might be just what you need. A quick 20-minute nap during lunch break is the best thing to do even if you think it’s wasting your time. Hey, it’s a Sunnah (Rasulullah’s practice, Peace Be Upon Him) after all.
Ultimately, caffeine has different effects on different people; you know yourself best. As for me, I tend to drink coffee not as a necessity but for pleasure. Ironically, I can control myself when I know it’s not good for me such as during the time of the month or when I need some sleep.
… Says the person who used to hide her precious ground coffee in the closet because she didn’t want to share.
Syaza is a freelance writer whose life revolves around coffee, cats and heartwarming stories.