A good night’s sleep is essential for our energy, concentration, and productivity, avoiding weight gain, and lowering the risk of various health issues, including heart disease and stroke.
Sleep is important for our immunity and mental health, as it lowers stress, and affects our emotions and social interactions. It is actually more important than a healthy diet and regular exercise.
Unfortunately, our sleep patterns are seriously disrupted these days, and our hectic lifestyles have reduced our sleep quality and made us sleep less.
So we all ended up sleep-deprived, craving to “sleep like a baby”. Yet, let’s remind ourselves that babies wake up numerous times at night, screaming and crying, finding it difficult to get back to sleep again.
This is probably the reason why Michael Pollan, creator of the Audible Unique audio guide “Caffeine”, decided to aim for “sleeping like a teenager again.”
He claims that avoiding caffeine is the key to a good night’s sleep, and the sleep benefits make the struggle worthwhile, even though quitting comes with many downsides.
“EVERYONE IS caffeinated. Till you get off caffeine, you don’t notice how common that state is.”
After finishing his 2018 guide “ Change Your Thoughts: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Habit, Despair, and Transcendence”, he turned to the effects of another drug, that might be even more harmful, as we usually do not consider it as such- caffeine.
“Here’s a drug we use every day. … We never think about it as a drug or an addiction, but that’s exactly what it is. I thought, ‘Why not explore that relationship?’”
He said that numerous studies have proven the effects of coffee on both, mental performance and athletic performance. Therefore, he explores the science of caffeine addiction and withdrawal, claiming that caffeine changes the brain in surprising ways.
To investigate the effects of caffeine in his audiobook, he decided to quit it for three months.
In the beginning, he explained that he lost his confidence, he felt “out of tune with the remainder of civilization”, less centered. He couldn’t focus, and the entire book ” seemed like a really stupid idea”.
Yet, the withdrawal symptoms subsided after a few days.
“After a pair of days, I used to be sleeping like a teen once more. It was the one upside I might see, and it was an enormous one. It was fantastic to have these deep, dream-filled sleeps.”
Throughout those three months, he replaced espresso with herbs from his backyard, especially lots of chamomile and peppermint.
He found out that caffeine takes “ its toll on Gradual Wave Sleep, this important temporary interval of deep sleep that we have to reset our brains for the subsequent day and to resynchronize all the things.”
He said that one always has a greater day after having a very good evening’s sleep.
Mr. Pollan adds that sleep has many pals, like a quiet, cold bedroom, and the absence of stress and screens, but “sadly, they’re simply not current or out there nowadays to most of us.”
When it comes to the effects of wine and any other alcohol, he explained:
“A small quantity of wine isn’t an issue, but when I’ve greater than two glasses, I’m extra prone to get up and fewer prone to get up [in the morning] feeling sharp. If caffeine messes with Gradual Wave Sleep, alcohol appears to mess with our REM sleep, once we do essentially the most dreaming.”
When it comes to the importance of caffeine, he believes that we are addicted to the entire ritual of the morning coffee, the odor, the ceremonies we have round espresso.
Yet, he doesn’t say that you need to ditch caffeine for life. After the end of his research, he returned to his daily caffeine fix.
When he had his first dose of caffeine after three months, he “was fairly psychedelic”. He felt “a radical shift in consciousness”, euphoria, and a surge of well-being.
He now gets his dose of caffeine via espresso, inexperienced tea, and chocolate, adding that his “splendid pairing now is perhaps espresso with a small sq. of darkish chocolate.”
“I think the word ‘addiction’ has a lot of moral baggage attached to it. As [Johns Hopkins researcher] Roland Griffiths told me, if you have a steady supply of something, you can afford it and it’s not interfering with your life, there’s nothing wrong with being addicted.”