Wait for it…
Turns out, right when you wake up is not the best time to have your first cup of coffee. Upon waking, your body brews up a batch of cortisol, which helps you to feel alert and awake. You may want to wait an hour or so before gulping down your first coffee of the day and save that initial shot of caffeine for when you really need it. HOWEVER, this biochemical process is regulated by your circadian rhythms, which, in the case of nurses, can be about as coordinated as your grandfather dancing to Hotline Bling. If you’re dealing with an inconsistent schedule or coming off a mere 2-4 hours of sleep, you may need that coffee sooner rather than later.
Coffee is healthy af
What do Parkinson’s Diseases, Type II Diabetes and Heart Disease all have in common? Scientific studies have demonstrated that regularly drinking coffee reduces the risk of all three. Want more? Regular coffee use has been shown to dramatically reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease and four cups of coffee a day can greatly reduce the risk of cirrhosis of the liver (according to multiple studies). Also, not drinking coffee during your shift correlates to a 100% chance of hating all of your patients.
Light roast actually have MORE caffeine than dark roasts
That’s right, you’ve been committing a cardinal sin of the nursing profession: unknowingly depriving yourself of caffeine. Contrary to popular belief, the darker, more-intensely-flavored brews don’t necessarily have more caffeine than their lighter, less-flavorful counterparts. The additional roasting necessary to achieve more intense flavor can actually burn off a portion of the caffeine. Our takeaway: flavor is for people who’ve never worked an overnight shift, go with the light roast.
The scent of coffee alone can help wake you up
Scientists have reported that simply inhaling the aroma of coffee can actually produce effects in the brain leading to greater alertness. Since coffee grounds are also a great smell neutralizer, you can kill two birds with one stone by keeping an open container of coffee grounds at your station, in a patient’s room, or elsewhere in the hospital. Feel more alive, more alert and more at peace with the horrifying odor emitting from behind that curtain.
You can OD on coffee…
But don’t worry, you’d have to drink roughly 100 cups of coffee to run the risk of death by java. I’m sure some of you have racked up some insane cup tally’s during a double shift, but were guessing your record is more in the neighborhood of 20-30. You’re probably pretty safe unless you start going the suppository route (you didn’t get that idea from us).
Adding cream can keep your coffee warm, but…
Adding cream or milk to your coffee can actually help keep your cup of joe warm longer (coffee with added cream cools about 20% slower), however, ingesting cream or milk with our coffee reduced the rate at which caffeine enters our system by slowing absorption. Ask yourself, do you need caffeine fast? Is an inexperienced resident driving you up the wall? Are a whole floor of patients threatening to revolt and hurl the contents of their bedpans in your direction? Better go with a black coffee.