I have seen a huge increase lately in clients who are caught in a caffeine trap where they drink it throughout the day to keep alert and “function.” The problem is that they feel they need it as their minds are dulled and foggy from the bad nights sleep and sleeping medication they try to knock themselves out with. Yet one part of what’s causing their anxiety and stress is their caffeine habit and so the cycle continues.
You may want to rethink your “afternoon pick me up.”
What’s quite clear is that a lot of people really don’t know how powerful caffeine really is and that it can stop you sleeping and feeling more relaxed. Whilst some of you reading this may raise an eyebrow at what seems like common knowledge, there does need to be better information out there on what this powerful drug can do to your mind and body.
Redbull with your session?
Some clients suffering with anxiety will arrive for sessions clutching coffee and even energy drinks to sip during the session. At least when I see this we can approach this lifestyle habit which can be changed easily. Just this little change can help someone feel so much better in themselves very quickly.
Did you know?
400 milligrams (mg) of coffee is apparently the limit of a safe amount we can have each day with around 250mg classed as a normal amount.
Some high street double Espresso shots can contain over 220mg.
A high street americano or flat white can contain over 270mg depending where you shop.
A green tea surprisingly can contain around 70mg which is not far from some single shot Espresso’s.
The effects of caffeine can be felt up to 6 hours after drinking it. If you drink a cup 6 hours before bed your sleep time can be reduced by an hour. It also reduces the amount of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep which is the deep sleep you need for recuperation.
Caffeine triggers the flight or fight response which during the hyper aroused state can make you more over reactive and stressed. If you are an anxiety sufferer then you have this happening too much already, adding more strain to your brain will cause more problems.
It’s not all bad as there are some health benefits to drinking caffeine such at reduced risk of strokes and oral, throat cancers. But if you are having mental health issues then assessing and reducing your caffeine intake can help you speed up your recovery. For some it’s worth reducing and stopping altogether and funnily enough those that have stopped find themselves not lacking in energy at all.
If you feel you are reducing or giving up something wonderful with coffee then yes it will be a bit of a battle. By increasing the value of what you will get from changing this habit can make it so much easier to let go of or alter to suit your circumstances.
As one client told me that by reassessing their caffeine intake combined with the anxiety management strategies I teach they felt so free. They had much more energy, mental clarity, better sleep and healthier relationships with the people around them as they were much less reactive.
Something which you simply cannot put a price on.