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Stress Relief Benefits of Coffee

If you have ever tried giving up coffee cold-turkey, you may have experienced withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, the inability to concentrate, and moodiness. This is because caffeine, the ingredient responsible, can affect the central nervous system through your mood, memory, and other different stress responses. This is good news for all of you coffee lovers out there. Coffee, actually has stress relieving benefits beyond simply its wonderful aroma and taste each morning.

Caffeine improves memory and mental capacity

In this day and age, the minute you wake up, you are answering emails, taking conference calls, or meeting deadlines with colleagues and collaborators around the world. Many people will not even attempt a task requiring significant mental capacity without having a cup of coffee.

This is because the caffeine in coffee can improve memory and cognitive function. Many studies, including a study published in PNAS, have determined that caffeine may improve both long and short-term memory.

This is because caffeine blocks receptors for a chemical called adenosine, which prevents the release of signals that excite and stimulate the brain. By blocking adenosine, these excitatory signals can flow more freely giving you a surge of energy, improving mental performance, and slowing mental decline associated with age. Being mentally sharper will certainly help you reduce work related stress. So which type of coffee should you consume to maximize the stress relief benefits?

Not all coffee is created equal

If you have visited your local coffee shop, you know that the choices are overwhelming. But most people simply choose their favorite roast and brew a cup of coffee at home or at work. If you are looking to maximize the caffeine content of the roast, choose a lighter roast.

When drinking light roast coffee, the flavors are extracted from the bean as opposed to the roasting process. But with darker roasts, the flavor comes more from the process than from the bean. As a bean is roasted more, there is less caffeine held within it, so the resultant cup of coffee will have lower levels of caffeine. But don’t overdo it.

Coffee may help improve mental performance, but too much of it can leave you feeling jittery, cause gastrointestinal issues, and insomnia.  Although there are many ways to manage stress, regulating your intake of caffeine with coffee and food is a great place to start.

Use coffee and food to help manage stress and regulate sleep

Coffee needs to be consumed in moderation with a healthy and balanced diet. If you have ever consumed too much coffee, you may have had trouble sleeping or just felt restless and unwell. There are foods that contain significant amounts of caffeine such as chocolate, soda, and energy bars.

You’ll want to keep this in mind when you are drinking several cups of coffee. Choose to couple your coffee intake with foods that help you relax and sleep such as milk, nuts, vegetables, and fruits. Eating a balanced diet will certainly give you a boost of energy and leave you feeling mentally sharp while helping you manage and reduce stress.

So remember coffee can certainly improve memory and mental capacity but it must be consumed responsibly with a healthy balance of diet and lifestyle to maximize coffee’s stress relieving benefits. So next time you are about to enjoy a cup of joe, make sure to take in all of these considerations in order to maximize your productivity and reduce work-related stress.

Bio: Sarah is the author of We Dream of Coffee. Her goal is to educate more people about its benefits, uses, and of course, its wonderful taste.

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GUEST POST: Increase Your Focus By Improving Your Sleep Health

Bio: Sarah Jones is the editor of Feeling the repercussions of being an irregular sleeper for far too long, she decided to do something about it. She learned why sleep is so important and how to maximize it, and is now helping others who are struggling to find their right sleep routine.

Are you one of the many people who struggle to maintain their focus? Especially in today’s world where distractions are all around us, keeping your focus can seem like an uphill battle. As a fellow solopreneur, I understand exactly how important it is to keep momentum and focus each and every day which is why I’ve decided to share the techniques I’ve found with you.

Get Sleep, Stay Focused

For those of us who are managing our own business or our own schedule, there is one defining factor that can affect our overall performance and focus: our sleep. While it’s so great to not have a true quote, unquote boss, being your own boss means you are in charge of your schedule. Having a proper sleeping schedule, and maintaining it is a vital component to being able to stay focused during your working hours.

According to Memory Improvement Tips, when you are feeling tired, you will not be able to focus clearly, or even at all on even the simplest tasks in your day. Having a good night’s sleep is absolutely critical for your brain to strengthen the neural connections which are required for processing information.

When you are sleep deprived, even if it is just for one night, your attention span as well as your working memory will become impaired. Both of these factors play a key role in your overall concentration and focus.

Improving your sleep will naturally lead to an improvement in your focus and concentration. According to Healthy Sleep, when you cannot enter a REM cycle, your over-worked neurons will not be able to function properly and the information they carry will not coordinate appropriately. This stage is when we begin to lose our focus as well as previously learned information.

How Can You Improve?

To improve the amount and the quality of the sleep you are getting each night, there are several steps you can take:

Lose the Distractions

One of the most important things you can do to improve your sleep is to lose the distractions. Make sure that you have your phone turned off or away or silenced when you are getting into bed. Not to mention, ensure that you avoid watching TV or using the computer one hour before bed. The blue glow from these devices triggers our brains to think it is daylight and therefore, stay active, even when you are trying to wind down.

Exercise More

Take some time to exercise each day. Getting your body moving will help improve your mental clarity as well as making your body feel tired. When you work out regularly, you will begin to notice how tired you are when your normal bed time finally arrives. Not only will exercise bring you better sleep, you’ll be in better physical shape as well.

Avoid Caffeine

Watch your caffeine intake, especially at night. Be sure to limit your caffeine (and sugar!) during the day so that you can avoid the crash as well as avoid staying up too late. If you’re like me and you can’t go without your caffeine, just be sure to intake your caffeine at the start of your day so it does not keep you awake late into the evening when you should be sleeping.

Regulate Your Schedule

A major factor in getting improved sleep for improved focus is regulating your schedule. Wake up at the same time each day, even on holidays and/or weekends. This also applies to the time you go to bed. Aim to get to bed the same time each night and wake up the same time each morning. The rigidity of the sleeping schedule will train your body and your mind to prepare for winding down and getting to sleep.

The Final Word

With practice and effort, you will soon notice the improvement in your sleep. When your sleep improves, you will notice how your focus improves as well. Making sure you are feeling well rested will allow you to have mental clarity and high levels of focus during your day.

What other techniques do you use to improve your sleep? Be sure to share by leaving a comment below! We’d love to hear from you!

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