Sleep Late And Drink Coffee

      88 Comments on Sleep Late And Drink Coffee

Man, I just love it when researchers confirm that my lifestyle choices – including sleeping late and then drinking coffee – are good for me.

Well, okay, I might be simplifying a bit. But what the heck am I supposed to think when I receive an email alert with a headline that reads something like sleeping until noon fixes metabolic syndrome?

The real story, which is slightly more complex, was reported in a MedPage Today article:

Two nights of good sleep appeared to reverse the negative metabolic effects that can come with short-term sleep deprivation, according to a new study.

Researchers took 19 participants, all of them “lean” young men, and restricted their sleep to only 4.5 hours in bed for four consecutive nights. The participants were then allowed two consecutive nights of 12 hours in bed on the first night and 10 hours on the second night.

Sounds very much like my sleeping pattern in college … although I wouldn’t have been categorized as a “lean” young man at the time.

Insulin sensitivity was reduced by 23% after sleep restriction compared to normal sleep (at about 8 hours a night), but gained about half of that reduction back after sleep recovery, according to Josiane Broussard, PhD, at the University of Colorado Boulder, and colleagues.

That’s why you don’t want to short yourself on sleep: you reduce your insulin sensitivity, which another way of saying you increase insulin resistance.

Actually, that’s just one of several reasons. Not getting enough sleep also raises your stress hormones and (pay attention, guys) reduces your testosterone production.

“A common question is whether, and how quickly, an individual can recover from the adverse effects of sleep loss on glucose homeostasis. We have demonstrated that 2 nights of recovery sleep averaging nearly 10 hours per night following 4 nights of sleep restriction in healthy young lean men is sufficient to improve insulin sensitivity,” they wrote in Diabetes Care.

“The metabolic response to this extra sleep was very interesting and encouraging,” said co-author, Esra Tasali, MD, of the University of Chicago, in a press release. “It shows that young, healthy people who sporadically fail to get sufficient sleep during the work week can reduce their diabetes risk if they catch up on sleep during the weekend.

Of course, it’s better if you don’t need to catch up on sleep in the first place. But if that morning alarm is yanking you awake all during the workweek, do yourself a favor: don’t schedule anything before noon on weekends and sleep until you wake up naturally.

And if you plan to hit the gym after waking up, perhaps you should drink some coffee first, at least according to a Science Daily article:

For anyone struggling to keep the New Year Resolution to ‘Do More Exercise’ science shows a solution could be found in a simple cup of coffee.

In a paper published this month in the scientific journal Sports Medicine, Professor Samuele Marcora, a University of Kent endurance expert, suggests the use of caffeine could help people stick to their fitness plans.

Responding to the findings that the majority of people give up their resolution to do more exercise within the first 6 months, Professor Marcora, Director of Research at the University’s School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, said his research could provide a solution.

Professor Marcora suggests that reducing perception of effort during exercise using caffeine (or other psychoactive drugs like methylphenidate and modafinil) could help the many people who find difficult to stick to their fitness plans.

I don’t like the taste of modafinil, so I’m sticking with the coffee. But truth be told, Professor Marcora’s hypothesis sounds just a wee bit speculative.

Professor Marcora points out that perception of effort is one of the main reasons why most people choose sedentary activities for their leisure time. Compared to watching television (zero effort), even moderate-intensity physical activities like walking require considerable effort. He says that the use of caffeine or other psychoactive drugs to reduce perception of effort during exercise can make the healthy choice easier.

First off, I disagree that watching TV requires zero effort, at least in my house. To watch TV, I first have to figure out where the hell the girls hid my remote. This often involves lifting the sofa with one hand while trying to grab the remote off the floor beneath it with the other. There’s both stretching and progressive resistance required.

Or it involves a hike around the house, including running up and down stairs, to see if one of them decided to go the bathroom while holding the remote and then set the thing on the lip of the tub while doing whatever it is girls do after going to the bathroom. (Whatever it is, it’s apparently not possible to continue holding the remote while doing it. It’s also apparently not possible to remember you carried a remote into the bathroom. )

Secondly, I don’t think people give up on the resolution to exercise after six months because they’re genetically lazy and need coffee. I think they give up because they finally realize that all those hours on the treadmill aren’t inducing the weight loss they wanted.

That being said, if I can blame the morning coffee for my recent workout sessions on the bike, I’m good with that.  But I suspect sleeping late figures into it as well.


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88 thoughts on “Sleep Late And Drink Coffee

      1. JillOz

        I don’t like the treadmill much.
        If I’m tired I get distracted and fall off!

        Just dawned on me lately that if I want to exercise on a machine a rowing machine is ideal, especially for people who tire easily or tend to get worn out on treadmills esp. since they’re vertical.

        I get to sit down and still work my arms, legs chest, and abs.
        Good for respiratory conditions – post attack of course!

        It’s easier to stop and rest when needed, and doesn’t interfere at all with my pace.
        I’ve only done it a couple of times so far – it’s at a public facility – but
        I was happy with the use I got out of it.

      1. JillOz

        I don’t like the treadmill much.
        If I’m tired I get distracted and fall off!

        Just dawned on me lately that if I want to exercise on a machine a rowing machine is ideal, especially for people who tire easily or tend to get worn out on treadmills esp. since they’re vertical.

        I get to sit down and still work my arms, legs chest, and abs.
        Good for respiratory conditions – post attack of course!

        It’s easier to stop and rest when needed, and doesn’t interfere at all with my pace.
        I’ve only done it a couple of times so far – it’s at a public facility – but
        I was happy with the use I got out of it.

  1. Bruce

    We have had a treadmill for years. It is something my wife thought she would use. I have tried to like it, but after a half mile of plodding along, it gets pretty boring.

  2. Tom Welsh

    “…doing whatever it is girls do after going to the bathroom”.

    Washing their hands would seem to fit the bill. 😎

  3. Tom Welsh

    And thanks very much for the comforting news about sleep! Now I’m retired I feel a lot happier about being able to sleep enough – although I’m still fine-tuning the right amount (of wine, of course) to drink at night. And having pretty much run on coffee since 1972, I’m really happy to hear that it might be doing us good rather than being suspected of causing all sorts of terrible illnesses.

    1. Woalter Bushell

      Coffee is the realist food in most American’s diets. For many it may be the only thing that could remotely honestly called real food. Coffee is an herb tea, after all.

      Now how coffee plays out a low carb paleo diet is another question.

  4. Firebird

    All kidding aside about your girls, you wouldn’t trade any of that for anything. 😉

    1. Tom Naughton

      You got it. These little annoyances are what make life with kids so amusing.

  5. Raynote

    “But if that morning alarm is yanking you awake all during the workweek, do yourself a favor: don’t schedule anything before noon on weekends and sleep until you wake up naturally.”

    Wouldn’t it be simpler and healthier to just go to bed early on weekends?
    Let’s say, go to bed at 10 and wake up at 10 and you have your 12 hours of sleep and as a bonus you enjoy a longer stretch of daylight.

    1. Tom Naughton

      Sure, if you can. I find it difficult to sleep before midnight, even I’m short of sleep.

      1. JillOz

        I’m a bit of a night owl too.
        Asthma crisis medication also leads one to stay up late.

  6. Onlooker

    I’m kind of surprised you didn’t comment on this, Tom:

    This: “Two nights of good sleep appeared to reverse the negative metabolic effects that can come with short-term sleep deprivation”

    doesn’t agree with this: ” Insulin sensitivity was reduced by 23% after sleep restriction compared to normal sleep but gained about half of that reduction back after sleep recovery”

    That’s a recipe for long term disaster. (Two steps backward, one step forward, etc.)

    Am I missing something here?

    1. Tom Naughton

      No, you’re not missing anything. I’m guessing they figure insulin sensitivity would continue to rebound after continuing to catch up on sleep, which makes sense. Miss sleep for a couple of nights, most people don’t become permanently insulin resistant as a result. But I’d wonder how much the effects add up over time.

  7. Bruce

    We have had a treadmill for years. It is something my wife thought she would use. I have tried to like it, but after a half mile of plodding along, it gets pretty boring.

  8. Tom Welsh

    “…doing whatever it is girls do after going to the bathroom”.

    Washing their hands would seem to fit the bill. 😎

  9. Tom Welsh

    And thanks very much for the comforting news about sleep! Now I’m retired I feel a lot happier about being able to sleep enough – although I’m still fine-tuning the right amount (of wine, of course) to drink at night. And having pretty much run on coffee since 1972, I’m really happy to hear that it might be doing us good rather than being suspected of causing all sorts of terrible illnesses.

    1. Woalter Bushell

      Coffee is the realist food in most American’s diets. For many it may be the only thing that could remotely honestly called real food. Coffee is an herb tea, after all.

      Now how coffee plays out a low carb paleo diet is another question.

  10. Raynote

    “But if that morning alarm is yanking you awake all during the workweek, do yourself a favor: don’t schedule anything before noon on weekends and sleep until you wake up naturally.”

    Wouldn’t it be simpler and healthier to just go to bed early on weekends?
    Let’s say, go to bed at 10 and wake up at 10 and you have your 12 hours of sleep and as a bonus you enjoy a longer stretch of daylight.

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Sure, if you can. I find it difficult to sleep before midnight, even I’m short of sleep.

        1. Tom Naughton Post author

          I just had a major night-owl experience. I don’t get insomnia as often I as I once did, but it hit last night. Finally fell asleep at 11:00 AM.

  11. Onlooker

    I’m kind of surprised you didn’t comment on this, Tom:

    This: “Two nights of good sleep appeared to reverse the negative metabolic effects that can come with short-term sleep deprivation”

    doesn’t agree with this: ” Insulin sensitivity was reduced by 23% after sleep restriction compared to normal sleep but gained about half of that reduction back after sleep recovery”

    That’s a recipe for long term disaster. (Two steps backward, one step forward, etc.)

    Am I missing something here?

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      No, you’re not missing anything. I’m guessing they figure insulin sensitivity would continue to rebound after continuing to catch up on sleep, which makes sense. Miss sleep for a couple of nights, most people don’t become permanently insulin resistant as a result. But I’d wonder how much the effects add up over time.

  12. Nick S

    Modafinil (taken for ADHD) destroys my interest in exercising. Not sure why, but it’s something I’ve heard others say as well.

    1. JillOz

      If you try getting off wheat, you D improves.
      Check out wheatbellyblog.com, run by cardiologist Dr William Davis.
      Tom has interviewed him.

  13. Nick S

    Modafinil (taken for ADHD) destroys my interest in exercising. Not sure why, but it’s something I’ve heard others say as well.

    1. JillOz

      If you try getting off wheat, you D improves.
      Check out wheatbellyblog.com, run by cardiologist Dr William Davis.
      Tom has interviewed him.

        1. Willow Wagner

          Mine is better since I’m off all grains. Better yet on Paleo-ish/keto. That’s just a personal observation, though. Hardly science.

  14. John C

    Hey Tom, Will you ever write another blog on politics and other things?

    I loved your film Fat Head. I got from the film that your politically leading are I think slightly Libertarian/Conservative. I got this mainly from when you talk about how people should have the right to chose what they want to eat and the line about the rights McDonald has to put on what they want on their menu and if the customer want to pay for it. Leftist often think they need to control because people are powerless but if you look at history people often make choices on what they want. One only needs to remember New Coke and how the people turning it down and refused to buy it, and it was not long until the company brought back tradition coke.

    I only discover the blog and I would to like to know say your opinion on things like windows 10 and Donald Trump and other things.

    Anyway have a nice day

    1. Tom Naughton

      Thanks, John. I had to let the other blog go when I went back to full-time programming work. Not enough hours in the week to do everything I’d like to do, so I decided to set that aside until something changes in my work life. I’ll get back to it someday. I’m rather opinionated, as you’ve surely noticed, and I’d like to write about more than just diet and health topics again.

      1. Steph

        Just found you thru Dave Asprey post on fabo about statins. You have a great writing style. I love humor mixed in with learning. I too would love MORE !! Too bad we have to sleep or you’d have more time in the day !!

        1. Tom Naughton

          Thank you. I hope someday I can dedicate myself to this work full-time. Maybe if our upcoming book sells a zillion copies.

      2. John C

        I understand work takes up a lot of time. It also must be hard with time when you have childern. Time is the most important resource we have and it is better that you spend time with family anyway. I don’t have kids and so I have time to read internet post.

        I was only interested in your opion only becuase I was a Vegan for a little over a month and felt like crap. I watch your video while traveling to New Hamshire and decide to give up the Vegan life style and go low carb and eat meat again (though it might also of been because I was in NH and in the USA and finding Vegan food is much harder then Australia). I then got interested in the book Wheat Belly and have not had wheat for over a year. Anyway have a good day

  15. John C

    Hey Tom, Will you ever write another blog on politics and other things?

    I loved your film Fat Head. I got from the film that your politically leading are I think slightly Libertarian/Conservative. I got this mainly from when you talk about how people should have the right to chose what they want to eat and the line about the rights McDonald has to put on what they want on their menu and if the customer want to pay for it. Leftist often think they need to control because people are powerless but if you look at history people often make choices on what they want. One only needs to remember New Coke and how the people turning it down and refused to buy it, and it was not long until the company brought back tradition coke.

    I only discover the blog and I would to like to know say your opinion on things like windows 10 and Donald Trump and other things.

    Anyway have a nice day

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Thanks, John. I had to let the other blog go when I went back to full-time programming work. Not enough hours in the week to do everything I’d like to do, so I decided to set that aside until something changes in my work life. I’ll get back to it someday. I’m rather opinionated, as you’ve surely noticed, and I’d like to write about more than just diet and health topics again.

      1. Steph

        Just found you thru Dave Asprey post on fabo about statins. You have a great writing style. I love humor mixed in with learning. I too would love MORE !! Too bad we have to sleep or you’d have more time in the day !!

        1. Tom Naughton Post author

          Thank you. I hope someday I can dedicate myself to this work full-time. Maybe if our upcoming book sells a zillion copies.

          1. JillOz

            Tom, if you do things like TEDx talks and public presentations you can have more time doing this.
            You’ll have amore of a profile than you do – no offence!! – be signed up by speakers’ agencies and we’ll never see you here again…OK, maybe not such a great idea. 😉

            1. Tom Naughton Post author

              Sounds like a good plan, but I really need to finish the book and film first.

              But I’ll still be here at the blog.

            2. JillOz

              Sure thing, I was talking long-term.
              No rushing necessary.

              Glad you’ll still blog, I find your analyses of scientific studies very helpful.
              Quite the learning curve.

      2. John C

        I understand work takes up a lot of time. It also must be hard with time when you have childern. Time is the most important resource we have and it is better that you spend time with family anyway. I don’t have kids and so I have time to read internet post.

        I was only interested in your opion only becuase I was a Vegan for a little over a month and felt like crap. I watch your video while traveling to New Hamshire and decide to give up the Vegan life style and go low carb and eat meat again (though it might also of been because I was in NH and in the USA and finding Vegan food is much harder then Australia). I then got interested in the book Wheat Belly and have not had wheat for over a year. Anyway have a good day

  16. Galina L.

    I am one of few people who don’t feel right after sleeping longer than 8 hours, I try not to undersleep during week days, but I am not perfect in that regard.
    Scheduling exercise at the expense of sleep is just self- destructive behavior.

  17. Paul B.

    That’s interesting, and supports my belief that one of the causes for the increase in obesity is sleep deprivation. I think there are a lot of other factors too–stress, air conditioning, medications that people take more of these days (e.g. antidepressants), fewer people smoking, etc.

    The evidence continues to mount that the mainstream diet advice–count calories and eat less of everything–just doesn’t work, especially in the long term.

    Interesting article about this–it outlines some of the problems with the calorie theory:

    http://gizmodo.com/why-the-calorie-is-broken-1755389049

    1. Tom Naughton

      That’s the concept so many people can’t grasp: yes, to gain weight you have to consume more calories than you burn. But that doesn’t explain why people get fat, any more than “more water flowed into the bowl than drained out” explains why your toilet overflowed.

      1. Dianne

        This is one of the most fascinating articles I’ve ever read, and it does so much to explain why when I was counting calories or “points” I could follow all the rules and lose little or no weight even though I was famished. It also helps explain why paleo/VLC is working for me, although at a rate of only about a pound a week. I don’t care — at least I’m going in the right direction without counting calories or carbs or anything, enjoying my food, and not hungry every hour or two (now that I’ve adapted to burning fat). Maybe best of all, when I do get hungry, it’s just a “time to eat” kind of hunger, not that desperate, light-headed, brain foggy, gotta-eat-now-before-I-pass-out kind of hunger. Used to be when that struck I didn’t dare drive a car. Now, I can wait until I get home instead of hitting the nearest McDonald’s.

    2. JillOz

      I agree with you, but please explain the air-conditioning as I’ve not heard this one before!!

      In short, que?

  18. Galina L.

    I am one of few people who don’t feel right after sleeping longer than 8 hours, I try not to undersleep during week days, but I am not perfect in that regard.
    Scheduling exercise at the expense of sleep is just self- destructive behavior.

  19. Paul B.

    That’s interesting, and supports my belief that one of the causes for the increase in obesity is sleep deprivation. I think there are a lot of other factors too–stress, air conditioning, medications that people take more of these days (e.g. antidepressants), fewer people smoking, etc.

    The evidence continues to mount that the mainstream diet advice–count calories and eat less of everything–just doesn’t work, especially in the long term.

    Interesting article about this–it outlines some of the problems with the calorie theory:

    http://gizmodo.com/why-the-calorie-is-broken-1755389049

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      That’s the concept so many people can’t grasp: yes, to gain weight you have to consume more calories than you burn. But that doesn’t explain why people get fat, any more than “more water flowed into the bowl than drained out” explains why your toilet overflowed.

      1. Dianne

        This is one of the most fascinating articles I’ve ever read, and it does so much to explain why when I was counting calories or “points” I could follow all the rules and lose little or no weight even though I was famished. It also helps explain why paleo/VLC is working for me, although at a rate of only about a pound a week. I don’t care — at least I’m going in the right direction without counting calories or carbs or anything, enjoying my food, and not hungry every hour or two (now that I’ve adapted to burning fat). Maybe best of all, when I do get hungry, it’s just a “time to eat” kind of hunger, not that desperate, light-headed, brain foggy, gotta-eat-now-before-I-pass-out kind of hunger. Used to be when that struck I didn’t dare drive a car. Now, I can wait until I get home instead of hitting the nearest McDonald’s.

        1. Tom Naughton Post author

          A pound per week is excellent. If you lose the weight at a moderate pace, you’re more likely to keep it off.

    2. JillOz

      I agree with you, but please explain the air-conditioning as I’ve not heard this one before!!

      In short, que?

  20. Mark

    So……….. IF you’re 19, and IF you’re lean, and IF you’re a man, and if it’s only for short term sleep deprivation then getting more sleep might help with reducing insulin sensitivity. By 23%. And to help with my exercise routine I should take stimulants? Bravo to Science Daily and the AACE. You have officially jumped the shark.

  21. Mark

    So……….. IF you’re 19, and IF you’re lean, and IF you’re a man, and if it’s only for short term sleep deprivation then getting more sleep might help with reducing insulin sensitivity. By 23%. And to help with my exercise routine I should take stimulants? Bravo to Science Daily and the AACE. You have officially jumped the shark.

  22. Bret

    I’m a caffeholic myself…love my coffee. I Know deep down that adrenal fatigue is possible (likely?), so any means of dissonance reduction in that department is much welcome. 🙂

    I also recently did a weight loss experiment, in which I was able to sleep ad libitum, so to speak. I noticed the weight loss was quick and effortless. Could be a coincidence, because I did modify my diet as well, but I am thinking the extra sleep had at least something to do with it.

    1. Bret

      Almost forgot to mention… Incidentally, I also quit coffee during my little weight loss experiment. Probably too many confounding variables here!

  23. Mike

    Coffee seems to be a popular item to recommend or not recommend for health & fitness.

    Some sources say that coffee helps with weight loss.

    I also have two books, one of which being Gary Taubes Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It, which cite coffee as not helpful. I think the idea is that among the other things coffee stimulates, it stimulates insulin.

    It strikes me as possible that the benefit of coffee may vary depending on one’s particular degree if insulin resistance.

  24. Bret

    I’m a caffeholic myself…love my coffee. I Know deep down that adrenal fatigue is possible (likely?), so any means of dissonance reduction in that department is much welcome. 🙂

    I also recently did a weight loss experiment, in which I was able to sleep ad libitum, so to speak. I noticed the weight loss was quick and effortless. Could be a coincidence, because I did modify my diet as well, but I am thinking the extra sleep had at least something to do with it.

    1. Bret

      Almost forgot to mention… Incidentally, I also quit coffee during my little weight loss experiment. Probably too many confounding variables here!

  25. Mike

    Coffee seems to be a popular item to recommend or not recommend for health & fitness.

    Some sources say that coffee helps with weight loss.

    I also have two books, one of which being Gary Taubes Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It, which cite coffee as not helpful. I think the idea is that among the other things coffee stimulates, it stimulates insulin.

    It strikes me as possible that the benefit of coffee may vary depending on one’s particular degree if insulin resistance.

      1. Mike

        In the Taubes book, he lists it among steps to take if lowering carbs doesn’t work, it’s included with eliminating sweeteners, dropping carbs really low, eliminating dairy, etc. So it may well be that it’s not significant for most people.

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