That said, there’s another issue at play here: sleep. We often underestimate the importance of sleep, or our own need for it, especially if we’re able to mask our need for it with drugs like caffeine (yes, it is a drug!), and convince ourselves we aren’t really sleep-deprived. However, studies show that a sleep deficit can be dangerous, and can threaten our productivity as well as our health. If your coffee is a sleep substitute, you can be depriving yourself of something you really need without noticing the ill effects of its absence, and there may be long term consequences.
Another potential problem with caffeine is that, in addition to helping you get by without the sleep you need and thereby lowering your motivation to prioritize your seven or more hours a night, caffeine can sabotage quality sleep by interfering with your body’s rhythms and hamper your ability to fall and stay asleep. This can become a real problem because it can further convince you that you don’t really need as much sleep as your body in fact requires, and it prevents you from taking advantage of the time to sleep when it’s available.
My recommendation is that you keep your caffeine intake to two coffee drinks per day, and don’t consume it past lunch time or very early afternoon. Also, it’s very important to schedule in enough time for quality sleep so you can regularly average at least seven hours. If you still find yourself in need of extra energy, try these natural energy enhancers instead.
Caffeine isn't the only thing that can impact your stress levels. Learn more about stress and stress management with these ongoing stress management resources.