Treating Sleep Deprivation Part 1: Caffeine

Living with the daily consequences of a sleep disorder is harsh; the sleep disorder causes chronic sleep deprivation as well as a host of cognitive, and physical ailments. I have two choices; give up and die – which sometimes in my dark place, I find myself wanting to. Or, tackle it face on to give me a fighting chance. I can’t have a normal daily life; this the best I am going to get, so I just need to put up with it and find a way to keep going.

I have written two previous blogs explaining what the sleep disorders are that I live with and how I deal with the morning sleep inertia.

First thing after waking up, I kick my senses hard with stimulation using taste, sight, sound and smell, as explained in the sleep inertia blog. I am going to break down my treatment into a series of blogs to explain each treatment in more detail. Hopefully, these will be helpful to others suffering from similar problems.

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I am starting the series off with caffeine, as this may be the most attractive and readily available to everyone to try. Caffeine is a psychoactive drug that stimulates the nervous system, increasing wakefulness, alleviating fatigue, and improving concentration. The length of time it takes to work is variable from person to person and strength of caffeine intake. The average length of time may be around 45 minutes, so it isn’t a quick fix sadly. The lasting effect of one cup can be 4 – 6 hours, though.

canstockphoto13163370The lasting effect, can, however, be a pitfall, as it could interfere with sleep if the caffeine is consumed too late in the day. Take your average bedtime and count back at least 6 hours to work out when you can have your last cup. It is worth nothing, though, if you smoke, this reduces the lasting effect from around 6 to around 3 hours. It explains why I needed many more cups of coffee to make it through the day when I was still a smoker!

Different types of drinks have different strengths of caffeine and the best resource I can find to help you work out the strength of your preferred drink is on the Mayo Clinic Website Caffeine is a mild diuretic, so it is important to drink a glass of water during the period you are consuming your drink, as it can cause dehydration. Dehydration itself can cause fatigue and lethargy, thus counter-productive!

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I need to consume my first cup of coffee within minutes of waking to reap the benefit as soon as possible. I then drink another 3 cups of coffee over the first 3 hours of the morning. If only it took 45 seconds instead of 45 minutes to work!
Although the effect of these cups of coffee will last up to 9 hours of my day, I still can’t stay awake and need to add other sensory therapies to my morning treatment to combat the sleep deprivation symptoms. Even after all the caffeine and additional therapies, I still need a 30-minute nap after 3 hours have passed to make it through the first half of the day!

In part II, I will discuss light therapy (also known as phototherapy) that I do every morning. Light therapy is excellent, but it does pose potential problems for people with depression and bipolar disorder.

Some helpful information about caffeine is available on the MNT website here: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/285194.php

Sleep Disorder Part 2 – Light Therapy

Photo Credit: (c) Can Stock Photo

4 thoughts on “Treating Sleep Deprivation Part 1: Caffeine

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