New research from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and Boston Children’s Hospital shows that chronic sleep loss increases pain sensitivity. It suggests that chronic pain sufferers can get relief by getting more sleep, or, short of that, taking medications to promote wakefulness such as caffeine. Both approaches performed better than standard analgesics in a rigorous study in mice, described in the May 8, 2017 issue of the journal Nature Medicine.
This article says differently:
Wake up and smell the coffee beans. Many of us start the day in this manner, but sometimes that caffeine kick we’re after doesn’t actually kick. Turns out there’s a good reason – if you’re missing out on an energy boost from that morning cup, science has the answer.
The daily coffee habit isn’t just a delicious ritual, it’s also a vehicle for the planet’s most popular psychoactive drug, caffeine. People the world over rely on this central nervous system stimulant for its ability to keep them alert, despite the myriad side effects including possible anxiety and heartburn (everything in moderation, people).
However, as anyone who’s not a coffee addict will attest, humans are perfectly capable of staying awake without chemical help. This is thanks to our own internal chemistry, and, more specifically, a hormone called cortisol.
As with any hormone, cortisol has several influences on the body, and is most commonly associated with metabolism. Produced in the adrenal cortex above the kidneys, it also plays a role in our stress and alertness levels.
And this is where it gets really interesting. Research has found that cortisol has a natural peak-and-fall cycle in the human body, with the highest levels occurring on average between 8 to 9 am.
Cortisol – and therefore your natural, unaided alertness levels – are important to consider in relation to your caffeine intake. Right when you wake up, your cortisol is already on the climb, which means that the morning coffee shot is going to have a lesser effect.
“If we are drinking caffeine at a time when your cortisol concentration in the blood is at its peak, you probably should not be drinking it,” writes neuroscientist Steven L. Miller. “One of the key principles of pharmacology is use a drug when it is needed [..] Otherwise, we can develop tolerance to a drug administered at the same dose.”
So drinking coffee first thing in the morning makes you more resistant to its effects. Of course, if you’re just drinking it for the taste, go nuts.
But when should you enjoy your coffee, then?
To optimise your coffee break, it’s best to have it between 9.30 and 11.30am. Because cortisol levels peak and rise a couple times during the day, your next window of alertness is between noon and 1pm, and then again between 5.30 and 6.30pm.
Drink coffee in-between these times to reap maximum caffeine benefits, but don’t leave it too late in the day if you want to get a good night’s sleep.
Am I likely to change my habits? Probably not. My cortisol levels have been screwed up for over 30 years anyway!
Today went pretty well. DH did some computer work with an employee. After about 2 hours, DH rested his eyes for a bit while the other guy finished up.
I took the opportunity to go out to do some grocery shopping. Exciting stuff!
A few phone calls, then DH napped some more – a bit of computer and you know the rest!
Sometime before this adventure started, DH had ordered 2 boxes of Girl Scout cookies.
Those arrived this evening and DH said he’d have “just one”.
I didn’t check how many he had but I saw that 4 (the typical serving size for Thin Mints) is 125 mg of sodium. Possible trouble looming.
Maybe I’ll have to sacrifice myself and eat them all first 🙂
Today was a pretty good day. DH actually did some more work got a testimony ready to file, then some napping. He went out with a friend to meet some others and actually had half a cup of coffee for the first time since surgery.
While he was out, I went to bell rehearsal to sub for someone else. A very odd feeling to be subbing in my own group but they’re getting ready for a festival and someone has to ring my position – and it can’t be me. I won’t be able to be away overnight for a while.
It was nice to be back, even briefly 🙂
Up early in the morning for the stress test on the treadmill at the cardiologist. I dropped DH off at the front door. By the time I’d parked and gotten upstairs, he was already hooked up to the monitors but they wouldn’t let me go in.
Apparently, he passed with flying colors, all the way up to a 7% grade so he can start cardiac rehab as soon as we can get it set up!
On the way home, we saw my mom out walking so pulled over to say hello. She was on her way to the library. She had an appointment with her oncologist next Wednesday and she had been dithering about changing that in case DH’s rehab was on Wednesday mornings. I told her not to change it – she might change TO the rehab date. As it turned out, the oncologist had cancelled her. Problem solved.
We decided to be brave and went to Bob Evans for breakfast. DH did fairly ok with veggie omelet, egg beaters, fruit plate and dry whole wheat toast. Another step in getting out into the real world again…
Last night didn’t go well. I tossed and turned all night. DH started trying to sleep in our room and went to the recliner about 1:00am, then back to the room about 4:00am. About 8:00am he was in the recliner again so I guess he didn’t sleep well, either.
The day was like most days – a lot of napping and working.
DH called rehab and he can’t start for 2 weeks. A bit disappointing 😦
I cleaned out our pantry and got rid of all the canned foods with sodium in them. I took some to my mom, then took the rest to church to send to Western Fairfax Christian Ministries.
I went to church choir. They’re getting ready for Holy Week and Easter so there’s lots of new music to learn. I’m starting to feel less mole-like.
Another lazy day. We were going to go to the mall to walk but work and naps got in the way.
DH is sitting in his recliner listening to some app that will teach him Spanish.
Our son came home and DH actually went with me to Union Station to pick him up from the train. I parked as close as I could so it was a short walk to the escalator, then another walk, another escalator and a longer walk.
DH was hungry so we went to get some Jamba Juice. Even though the store was open, they said that they were cleaning up and closed. DH went into Starbucks against my better judgement and got some kind of strawberry muffin thing.
On the way home, he wanted to go to McDonalds so I went through the drive-through and got 3 shamrock shakes, a grilled chicken sandwich for DH and a quarter pounder, no cheese for me.
Going out into the world is going to wreck all my careful food planning over the last 4 weeks!
I woke up at 4:00am with a raging headache, possibly from that shamrock shake. I’m not used to all that sugar any more 😦 It’s too bad – that’s about the only thing I really like(d) at Mickey D’s. Oh, well.
At 11 we had our first Mended Hearts meeting. That went pretty well. I actually talked some – DH, of course, talked more. I found it ironic that the snacks included no coffee but the raffle gift was a coffee cup. HMMM…
It was good listening to other patients and caregivers talking about some of the issues we’ve gone through.
Today was a take-it-easy day, a bit of TV, napping and playing piano duets with our son. At night, we took him back to the train station. Later, DH said that his chest was hurting a bit, probably from so much walking in the train today and Friday and the walking through the parking garage and hospital on Saturday.
Hopefully, a little Tylenol will help.
Next report next Monday…