Caffeine, Melatonin & Sleep Recommendations

We’ve talked about caffeine before and why we don’t serve it at the resort.  However, there seems to be more to how caffeine impacts our health and sleep quality.

 

It’s no surprise that caffeine can effect our sleep rythms by interfering with the sleep hormone melatonin.  However, melatonin is also reponsible for other body processes and impeding it’s production can have an impact on a wide range of health concerns from obesity to cancer.  

 

You can read more about that here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2015/09/17/caffeine-night-does-more-than-keep-you-up-late/32548551/

 

You’ll note in the above article that it talks about blue lights from screens interfering with sleep as well.  Just this year, the National Sleep Foundation came out with updated recommendations for sleep.  You can read about that here: https://sleepfoundation.org/media-center/press-release/national-sleep-foundation-recommends-new-sleep-times

 

For adults (26-64), the sleep range did not change and remains at 7-9 hours per night.  A new age category was added for older adults (65+) and 7-8 hours is the recommendations for them.  

 

They also recommend to have a sleep routine in which you help your mind and body wind down in order to improve sleep quality.  This might look different for everyone but it is strongly encouraged to avoid looking at screens at least 30-60 minutes prior to bedtime.  I would also suggest to review this recent blog post about when to stop eating at night.

 

Essentially, your body needs to get into the deep REM cycle of sleep for adequate rest and while you may be in bed for 7-9 hours, you may not be getting the sleep cycles you need.  Winding down, limiting screen time and eating well-balanced meals throughout the day can help to improve that.  

 

Also, here is a great TED talk about how important sleep is for cleaning the brain and protecting it against neurological decline.  http://www.ted.com/talks/jeff_iliff_one_more_reason_to_get_a_good_night_s_sleep?language=en

 

Ultimately, I hope this blog post helps you to identify other factors that may be influencing your health.  I find it common for individuals to focus solely on weight loss or changes in diet and exercise without consideration for proper rest and relaxation.  Slowing down a bit can actually increase your productivity and well-being.  Also, a poor night’s sleep happens every once in a while, but a body that feels well taken care of consistently is much more resilient to less than ideal situations here and there.  So no reason to worry about perfection here, it all goes back to consistency.  Your best is always good enough!

 

Emily Fonnesbeck RD, CD