If you love coffee you are not alone – coffee is the most consumed psychoactive drug in the world and the author of the app loves it too, hand grinding good quality beans for a tasty cup of coffee almost every morning, and having one more cup in the afternoon.
The active ingredient of coffee, caffeine, binds in our body to the same receptors as adenosine, the neurotransmitter that informs the body of increasing sleep pressure as we explained in Circadian rhythm chapter. By blocking these receptors body doesn’t get the message about sleep pressure
building up, even though adenosine concentrations are growing. Just as caffeine gets cleared out of the system, the body realizes that it’s time to sleep.
Half life of caffeine differs based on genetic predispositions, but it is roughly 6 hours. So if you are taking your double espresso at 4pm, it is similar as taking single espresso around 10pm. This can be useful when you need to prepare for a new timezone, but it is not a good daily practice. Even if you are able to fall asleep in the evening, …..moderate circulating caffeine levels …. impact on sleep.
The author of this app is fast caffeine metabolizer, but her last year+ of sleep tracking and self observation …lead to gradual replacement of beans to 50:50 normal and decaffeinated, and reduction of consumed coffee in general.
Tea can serve as alternative. It may be even better option because it combines effects of caffeine with calming effects of theanine. If you find it difficult to get decent coffee or tea at airports and planes, you can always bring your own (for example Mushroom Coffee …link…), or take a shortcut with supplements like SmartCaffeine (…link…)
1. Remove as many distractions as possible.
it’s difficult to get a good sleep when you’re in a sitting position, the engines are humming, passengers around you are talking, lights are on and air crew keeps waking you up for (usually bad quality) meals and drinks.
Try to minimize how many people will have a chance to wake you up. Sit in an isle in the middle row (usually just 1 person), or if you intend to sleep the whole flight you can take the middle seat in middle row or window seat. **picture**
Reduce the noise by either noise cancelling headphones, or plain earplugs. Some airlines offer them free, or you can buy some of the **innovative models** that give you more comfort and function.
If you decide to prioritize sleep over free meal (read **article** to learn why this is a great idea), you can tell air crew that you wish not to be waken up for meals. They will respect that.