Don’t you wish that after every time you had lunch you could cuddle into one of those futuristic looking sleeping pod to catch a quick nap? Think back to all those team lunches at the all-you-can-eat buffet. How dreadful it was to come back to work from them and get into a meeting? We wish we all worked in fancy startups with their sleeping pods to catch a siesta every day. But unfortunately, we don’t, at least not all of us.
So what’s the solution for the rest of us? For me, the magic word is coffee! I have been drinking the black stuff for as long as I remember and it has kept me sharp right through the sleepy afternoons. It has also helped me tackle the most difficult of afternoon meetings. I love this stuff so much that I started a cold brewed coffee company of my own. It is called Bolt Cold Brew and we started to tackle the exact same problem that we faced in our previous avatars as corporate employees.
So how does coffee really help keep you sharp after lunch? Let’s dig into the science behind this a little.
Feeling sleepy after a meal is a chemical process
Every time you have a meal, your body produces a hormone in the brain called melatonin. Melatonin is responsible for telling your body that it is time to hit the bed and is produced by converting the amino acid tryptophan into serotonin, which then turns into melatonin. The amount of melatonin production will vary by the type of food you eat.
A meal heavy in protein and carbohydrates contains a large amount of tryptophan amino acid which converts to melatonin and makes you feel sleepy. This is the reason we feel sleepy after eating a large portion of rice and curry as the meal is high in both, carbohydrates and protein.
Another reason why you feel sleepy after a heavy meal is that the body diverts more blood to the digestive system to better digest the food you ate. This leaves a lower amount of nutrient and blood in the brain creating a feeling of drowsiness.
So how to avoid feeling sleepy after lunch
The easiest way to avoid feeling sleepy after lunch is to eat a balanced diet that balances protein and carbohydrates with fat from healthy sources and fibers. Another good way is to eat small meals and drink a lot of water throughout the day.
Where does coffee fit in?
If balancing your afternoon meals and reducing your portion size is not always a feasible option, it is time to switch something more potent. Coffee has been proven to improve post-lunch productivity by interrupting the flow of melatonin, the same hormone that sends us to sleep.
According to a study published in 2002 by the Department of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University Israel, consuming caffeine increases melatonin in the body and thus directly affects the amount of sleep in the subjects. So while consuming coffee might not be a great idea late in the evening, a cup of joe after lunch can help you ward off sleepiness and improve productivity. Beyond the wake-me-up benefits, coffee also has other functional benefits such as:
It improves focus
Coffee contains caffeine which is a central nervous stimulant. Its consumption has been linked to improvement in mental performance, alertness, and focus. According to a study conducted by the European Food Safety Authority, when subjects consumed 75mg caffeine (available in a regular cup of coffee), they showed improved focus.
It keeps you alert
Drinking a cup of coffee provides you with anywhere from 100 to 200 mg of caffeine. Caffeine works its magic by binding itself to the adenosine receptors in the brain.
How is that relevant? Well, adenosine is the stuff that makes you sleepy and tired by slowing neural activity. But when you drink coffee, the caffeine binds itself to these receptors so you do not feel any slowdown in neural activity.
Caffeine also causes the release of a hormone called adrenalin. Adrenalin is a flight or fight hormone which is usually released in response to some external threat and gives your body a sudden burst of energy and increases attention level. By stimulating that effect, caffeine makes sure you are ready for that board room presentation or the next set of tasks in front of you.
It can help deal with the physical pain of modern office jobs
The modern office job requires us to sit for long periods and takes a toll on our back and neck muscles. The caffeine in coffee is known for its pain-reducing qualities and is one of the main ingredients in many over the counter pain medicines. According to a study by the University of Georgia, consuming 2-3 cups of coffee a day could reduce muscle pain by up to 48%.
It can reduce the stress related to lack of sleep
Stress is never a good thing. When our body is stressed, it releases a hormone called cortisol. While at a small level this hormone is helpful, if it stays high for a long duration, it could interfere with learning and memory, cause weight gain and depression, and could lower overall life expectancy. Once again coffee comes to the rescue. According to a June 2008 study by Seoul National University, the aroma of coffee has been shown to reduce stress levels.
Benefits of drinking cold brewed over hot brewed coffee
As you can see, your regular cup of coffee is not only a great way to stay awake after lunch but also provides you with a multitude of functional benefits. We prefer drinking cold brewed coffee over hot brewed one due to its multiple advantages.
Bolt Cold Brew Is 100 Times Less Acidic Than Hot Coffee
Cold brewed coffee is made by brewing coffee grounds in cold water for 12 hours or more. Delayed oxidation during the brewing process reduces the acidity by a factor of 100 when compared to hot coffee, making Bolt a much superior alternative. We make Bolt Cold Brew by brewing 100% Arabica beans in under 5 degree temperature water for more than 24 hours.
Bolt Cold Brew Contains More Antioxidants
Hot brewing process destroys the antioxidants contained in coffee whereas Cold-brewing process preserves them.
Bolt Cold Brew Is More Flavourful & Smoother
The extended brewing process of cold brewed coffee ensures an even flavor extraction that results in smooth flavor, a rich sweetness, and virtually no bitterness.
Bolt Cold Brew Helps You Consume Fewer Calories
Because of the natural sweetness and the smooth taste, you can drink Cold Brewed coffee straight from the bottle. With less than 5 calories per bottle, you save on a lot of extra calories that come with milk and sugar. With Bolt Cold Brew, you get all the benefits of cold brewed coffee along with the convenience of easy to carry glass bottles or energy shots. You can order your own pack of 6 from the shop now page at the top right corner.
Don’t forget to let us know how you deal with your post-lunch sleepiness in the comment section below. Sign up for our newsletter for more such interesting articles.