Which is the most common psychoactive, addictive drug in the World?
Both tea and coffee contain caffeine, but today, it’s all about coffee.
I drink a lot of coffee by Indian standards. At least 2-3 single espresso shots, one cappuccino and 1-2 pour-overs per day. I am quite particular about my coffee. I get my coffee beans and pour-over grind from BlueTokai. I use the freshly roasted beans for the espressos in my Gaggia machine and I make the pour-overs in my Hario V70.
But I don’t drink any coffee or tea after 5.30 PM, 4 hours before my bedtime.
Caffeine is a stimulant. It binds to the adenosine receptors in the brain. Increasing adenosine levels during the day cause drowsiness and by blocking adenosine, in the short term, caffeine increases focus and concentration.
Many people, including the author Michael Pollan, whose new book “This is Your Mind on Plants” devotes a third of its pages to caffeine, believe that caffeine was responsible for jump-starting the Industrial Revolution by increasing the workers’ focus and concentration.
The challenge is that in today’s world where we want to pack in as much as we can in a 24-hours day, the extra time we need is usually borrowed from our sleep time. Then, if we sleep less, we are groggy during the day, which we try to offset with caffeine, which in turn affects our sleep adversely, which then sets up a vicious Catch-22 where we drink coffee to remain alert because we are sleeping badly because we are over-caffeinated. Since the average half-life of caffeine is 2 1/2 to 5 hours, one of the things that helps with good sleep is to have the last caffeinated beverage not later than 4-6 hours prior to bedtime, come what may.
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