Monday, November 10, 2008

TO WRITE: Coffee, anyone?
If you are living with a mood disorder, I'm betting you have a special relationship with caffeine. Depressed? You may down coffee, tea and colas all day long trying to get an energy boost. Bipolar? You may need to avoid the stuff like the plague to keep it from nudging you up into hypomania or mania. And what about the large numbers of us who just can't sleep reliably, or who sleep too much, or who feel sedated by meds? Chances are you have thought deliberately about your caffeine intake. I've certainly pondered mine over my third cup of java.


I've always assumed that caffeine helps me stay more alert and focused, especially when I haven't had all the sleep I need. But a new study of coffee's effects says: NO! A new study in the Nov. 3, 2008 Human Psychopharmacology journal tested people taking caffeine or a placebo, both when they were rested and when they were sleep deprived. While some brainwaves did look different, they concluded: "The findings do not support the use of caffeine as a means for enhancing human function or as an antidote to the negative effects of sleep loss."

Are the effects of caffeine different in those of us with a mood disorder? We don't know. And that placebo effect resulting from our common assumption that it helps or hurts may play a role too. But it's worth considering all the evidence.

Play with this. . .
Write continuously for 20 minutes about your sleep patterns and your alertness and how you cope with any sleep or alertness problems. Have you found practical solutions? Share them! This is a big factor in improving and maintaining our health.

1 comment:

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