Weekly Market Update for February 20th, 2024: Sleep hygiene part 4

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Welcome to DAT Freight & Analytics’s six-part series on napping, sleep physiology, scheduling, and trip planning. While aimed at truckers in high-risk operating environments, the information will benefit anyone in the logistics industry equally. This week, we’ll deeply dive into the big four sleep stealers.

Who and what is stealing your sleep?

Energy drinks

Energy drinks are a product that may have been experienced by many. Athletes, students, and shiftworkers have found an ally in this energy drink, whose role is to provide a lot of calories at essential moments that require all their energy to carry on with their activities. Stamina is almost instantly replenished, and while the body improves its capacities, you can accomplish your task.

It is no wonder that energy drinks have gained popularity, but at the same time, people have started asking questions about the possible effects of the drink on the general state of health. Some say that energy drinks are usually made of certain ingredients that, although legal and verified, can cause some side effects if the intake of energy drinks is too high.

Some energy drinks are also rich in sugar. Once in the body, the sugar is transferred into the bloodstream. When the effect of the energy drink wears off and the sugar level in the blood drops, users are left feeling flat and tired. Other side effects of energy drinks are strongly related to the caffeine they contain. More on that later.

Alcohol

Many have a small nightcap to help them go to sleep … the trouble is, nightcaps aren’t usually small, and they don’t help you to sleep. They make sleep worse. Research shows that although one person in seven — and more than a quarter of insomniacs — use alcohol as an aid to sleep, it disrupts sleep, even at comparatively low levels. 

The more we drink, the more tired we end up. A recent survey conducted by the Department of Health found that 58% of people were unaware that drinking alcohol could disturb a good night’s sleep. While alcohol does, indeed, make you go to sleep more quickly, at least if it’s not drunk in excess — it has a natural soothing effect. However, it disrupts sleep architecture once you are asleep — the sleep pattern and brain waves that leave you feeling refreshed in the morning. 

Caffeine

Nearly 90% of North Americans consume caffeine every day. Morning lines in popular coffee shops and the popularity of energy drinks show that people are fuelling up their bodies to receive that wakeful feeling. 

Unfortunately, they are creating a vicious cycle for themselves in which they consume caffeine because they feel tired, but they’re unable to sleep because the caffeine is still in their systems. When nicotine enters the mix, caffeine users/smokers are even at higher risk for sleep impairment and troubles.

A cup of coffee can be consumed in minutes, but did you know it can stay in your body for nearly an entire day? Caffeine has a half-life of approximately six hours. So, a drink with 200 mg of caffeine consumed at noon will still have approximately 100 mg in your system at 6 pm. Nearing bedtime, traces (or more) of the caffeine will still be in your system, activating it and preventing it from that deep sleep the body needs. Nicotine has a half-life of approximately 60 minutes.

The golden rule is if you must consume caffeine, try to limit use after 3 pm and 3 am daily. 

Nicotine

Sleep problems are caused because nicotine stimulates the brain and makes it work overtime, disrupting sleep cycles. In addition, nicotine disables the person from concentrating on specific tasks for an extended period, and this includes sleep.

Disclaimer: This information is not designed to be a substitute for medical advice from a qualified practitioner or a diversion from the safe operation of motor vehicles. If you have any questions about the safe application of this information at your company, please consult your immediate supervisor. If you have health concerns adversely affecting your sleep, please immediately consult your family doctor.

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