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I was watching one of those myth debunking shows, and they were talking about the tryptophan in turkey. This is the chemical that many blame for how tired we all feel after Thanksgiving dinner. Coincidentally, at the same time as this show was on, I was on a website warning of the dangers of combining alcohol and coffee. It made me wonder just how much power that coffee has to save us from the lethargy of Thanksgiving Day!
Here is what truly makes you tired on Thanksgiving Day, and whether coffee has it in its power to save you…
Vacation Day Fatigue: Let’s not kid ourselves. We all knew we had a vacation day today, so nobody got a reasonable regular Wednesday night sleep last night. I’m not the only one who fell asleep on the couch in the wee hours watching AMC’s The Walking Dead (am I? anybody?). Coffee can help. The caffeine in coffee is a psychoactive with stimulant effects. It reduces physical fatigue, restores alertness when drowsy, and increases wakefulness.
Alcohol: Many of us will drink more than average today – certainly more than an average Thursday afternoon and evening (and night). Coffee will not help. The dangers of mixing alcohol and caffeine refer mainly to the direct combination of the two – energy drinks with alcohol, for instance. The real question is whether caffeine counterbalances the sedative effects of alcohol, and it does not. Rather, the two create separate effects. Remember that before you think a coffee will sober you enough to drive home.
Overeating: The average American will consume 4,500 calories today. It takes the body alot of energy to process that much. Coffee will only help a bit. There are studies on caffeine’s digestive qualities, and it will improve focus. For many however, it increases heartburn, which will be associated with the big eating of Thanksgiving Day.
Tryptophan: This chemical will cause fatigue, but there are only trace amounts of it in turkey. It is a myth that the quantity of this chemical in the turkey we eat is the cause of fatigue on Thanksgiving Day.
The Aftermath: Alot of work goes into preparing Thanksgiving dinner, and alot of work goes into cleaning up and returning to normalcy. Coffee can help. For all of the stimulant effects mentioned under fatigue, a cup or two of coffee after Thanksgiving dinner will most certainly give you that little more drive and focus that you need to be productive and prepare for a most unproductive evening and night.
Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy great coffee today.
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