A couple of weeks ago, I was watching an intriguing and valuable webinar by Ron Friedman (a psychologist and author) on work performance. Many issues were covered, alongside some interesting questions, solutions and strategies. The tips and advice covered is something I would like to share with you, but I have decided to break down the information into several article posts and this is the first.
For starters, I would like to point out that coffee is a performance-enhancing drug. This is rather self-explanatory: it helps you work better by improving your activity. However, coffee can keep you up at night, just as well as it encumbers your sleep. For this reason, coffee, which contains caffeine, should only be drunk at certain times of the day. But, the real question is: when should I stop having coffee?
Ron Friedman mentions ‘8 hours before bed’ and further adds that ‘even decaf has caffeine in it’. Therefore, you cannot drink decaf coffee all day long either. Even white tea, which most people assume has not got any caffeine in it, actually does have a little caffeine. Friedman recommends limiting the amount of coffee consumption, particularly at 2PM. Make 2PM your target, because an average person typically goes to bed at 10PM. After 2PM, try reducing and completely stopping your coffee intake. You can even switch to decaf, but it is ideal to just stick to no coffee.
However, determining the cut-off point for coffee is not so straightforward and really depends on the person, because different people’s bodies react differently to caffeine. Some people metabolise it quicker and it does not have an impact upon them at all. For example, some of my friends drink coffee whenever/all day long and it does not affect them. However, others cannot bear to have more than one cup of coffee after a certain time period, because they know they will not get enough sleep to wake up for an early lecture and will only end up snoozing on the snooze button.
However, if you are experiencing issues with taking a long time to fall asleep or finding yourself more agitated in the afternoons or evenings, this is a good indication that caffeine is something you want to limit.