If you’re find­ing it hard to nod off, give it the beans. Wake up and smell the lat­est re­search on bed­ding down

Men's Health (UK) - - In This Issue -

Re­search has found a sur­pris­ing ally in your quest for im­proved shut-eye. Give it the beans

In this age of end­less screen time and per­pet­ual anxiety, sleep is an in­creas­ingly scarce com­mod­ity. And that’s a prob­lem: sleeping for less than six hours a night can dis­rupt your me­tab­o­lism, cause a spike in your lev­els of the stress hor­mone cor­ti­sol and even af­fect your de­ci­sion mak­ing to the same de­gree as sev­eral whiskies, ac­cord­ing to the Sleep and Cir­ca­dian Neu­ro­science In­sti­tute. Sep­a­rate stud­ies show that if you fall into an un­happy rhythm of late, rest­less nights and bleary- eyed early morn­ings, you’re 12% more likely to die be­fore your 65th birthday. It’s enough to keep you up at night.

| But new re­search by the Trivedi Science Re­search Lab­o­ra­tory has iden­ti­fied an un­likely ally. Caf­feic acid in cof­fee in­hibits the break­down of mela­tonin – the hor­mone that reg­u­lates your cir­ca­dian rhythm and trig­gers the on­set of sleep – in your liver. The more mela­tonin that’s avail­able to your body, the more that can be re­leased in your blood­stream, sig­nalling your mind to switch off in the evening.

An espresso night­cap re­mains a ter­ri­ble idea – no amount of mela­tonin can off­set that stim­u­lus. But caf­feine has a half-life of around six hours (the time it takes to lose 50% of its po­tency in the blood), so if you re­strict your cof­fee to a morn­ing eye-opener and power through af­ter­noon slumps with a work­out and com­plex carbs in­stead of cof­fee, you can reap the ben­e­fits of ex­tra mela­tonin without an un­wanted buzz keep­ing you up through the night. You can thank us in the morn­ing.


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