Monday, August 16, 2010

Latte Land

Living in Seattle we are surrounded by coffee shops, and I’ll admit it, I get it. A warm latte is like an oasis in this grey, dismal, and wet city. That is how many Seattlites operate; let’s face it, Starbucks was founded in 1971, and Microsoft followed soon there after in 1975. But as I was driving home from clinic this afternoon I spotted a billboard on the side of an espresso shop that said: “Good nights sleep? We can fix that!” Something about that sign did not sit well with me.

America is sleep deprived. We are working too hard and sleeping too little. Bedtimes get pushed back further and further in to the night as the television flickers in many homes each evening. As stress goes up and sleep goes down, our stress hormones skyrocket, which can help lead to obesity, another huge problem in America these days. To top off everything, the foods that we eat are not supportive of our health and this makes the situation even worse.

Drinking too much caffeine is like using a credit card. If you buy something that you can’t afford at the time, pretty soon, you will have to pay for it, plus interest. Having 3-4 cups of coffee a day to “keep you going” can drain out your supply of stress hormones causing severe exhaustion. Eventually you will have to build back your supply through proper eating and most importantly, sleep.

Everyone misses out on their 8 hours once in a while, but I believe it is important not to skimp on sleep too frequently. An afternoon latte or two wont hurt every so often, but every day it can be a detriment to achieving optimal health, not to mention each one runs you about 200 calories.

Do you depend on coffee for your afternoon boost? What other ways do you find energy to get you through the day?


  1. Yes, I use coffee to get me going in the morning. I did not used to. In fact green tea was my morning ritual for a long time and at some point I switched. I can't recall why but it was while living in AK. Maybe it was a darkness factor similar to what you are saying about the gray in Seattle.
    However, I have a rule about when caffeine is not an option and that is anytime at or after dinner. I love sleep and rarely compromise on that one.
    You bring up some very good points. I like exercise for an energy boost and it will also help you sleep!

  2. There is lots of research about how caffeine consumption disrupts sleep cycles, specifically shortening or inhibiting REM sleep. During REM sleep, your body is working on repairing itself as well as the information you took into your short term memory during the day is being processed into long term memory. Too much caffeine has significant consequences. Great post.