Coffee lovers – You’ll pay for your next cup with more than just money

Victorians have been touted as the nation’s biggest coffee addicts. 

Back in 2014, statistics published in an article by the Herald Sun unveiled that Victorians consume an average of 808 coffee cups a year. 

In that year, we splurged $1674 annually at cafes and on takeaway coffee compared with a national average of $1498. 

Consumption has grown further since then, with the annual spend now considered to be approaching $1800. 

Stand on the corner of Central Park in Malvern East near our pharmacy for just 5 minutes, and you’ll see how true this is (although you might be tempted to buy yourself a cup as well)!

Coffee and the illusion of energy

An interesting article in The Conversation broke down what it is that coffee does for us. 

A common myth is that coffee gives you energy.  However, the ‘hit’ you get from your sip every morning might not be the only effect of caffeine on the body.

The main stimulant in coffee is caffeine. And the main way caffeine works is by changing the way the cells in our brain interact with a compound called adenosine.

Adenosine plays a role in the process that regulates our sleep cycle

As we go about our days and engage in activities, levels of adenosine increase as it is released as a by-product when our cells use energy.

However eventually, adenosine binds to receptors that tell us to slow down, making us feel drowsy and sleepy. While we are sleeping, energy use drops. This lowers adenosine levels. 

Given sufficient sleep, we wake up in the morning feeling refreshed. If we do not get enough rest, high adenosine levels and the feeling of drowsiness persist. This is when most of us reach for a cup of coffee to help overcome this feeling.

What’s the catch?

The catch is that, while caffeine feels ‘energising’, this little caffeine intervention isn’t really creating energy for our bodies. It’s just borrowing it.  

Caffeine doesn’t stay bound to our body’s receptors forever. Eventually, the caffeine breaks down. All that adenosine that has been building up latches on and the cycle of drowsiness comes back with a bang. 

The energy debt must be repaid. The only real way to repay it is to sleep.

So, the next time you’re looking for a coffee ‘pick-me-up’, remember this.

If it’s too late in the day, caffeine will make it hard to fall asleep at bedtime. Caffeine can be useful, but it isn’t magic. 

To create energy and re-energise our bodies we need proper rest and nutrition.

Opinions or facts expressed within the content have been sourced from various news sources. While every effort has been taken to source them accurately, the pharmacy, its owners, staff or other affiliates do not take any responsibility for errors in these sources. Patients should not rely on the facts or opinions in the content to manage their own health, and should seek the advice of an appropriate medical professional. Further, the opinions or facts in the content do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of the pharmacy, its owners, staff or other affiliates. 

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