August 22, 2020

Tweaks: Caffeine and artificial sweetener

My caffeine and artificial sweetener intake has gotten slightly out of control over the past few weeks—especially as I'm  coping with changes in my routine and drop-off in training sessions during the semi-lockdown here in Hong Kong. I used to think I wasn't very sensitive to things like caffeine or red wine, but I recently started wearing an Oura Ring and, I don't know if it's been like this all along or if it's just because I'm in my 40s, but even the slightest adjustments in my diet and supplement intake can drastically affect the quality of my sleep. That or it's stress and anxiety.

This is my Oura Ring sleep report from last night. I didn't consume any alcohol yesterday, but I have been pushing my caffeine intake all week, so my sleep has been on a downward trajectory for the past five days. Yesterday I had 200 mg of caffeine in the morning and then a grande Starbucks coffee around 3 p.m. I was tired at 10:30 p.m. and went to bed, but woke up at 4 a.m. after a pretty poor night of REM sleep, thus the poor recovery score. I'm going to try to slowly tamp down on my morning caffeine intake, starting with today. I've only had one venti Starbucks drip coffee so far today and I didn't even finish it. That said, it's 7 p.m. and I would happily crawl into bed right now.

I've also been trying to wean myself off artificial sweeteners. Pre-lockdown, when I was training three times a week and getting on treadmills on weekends, I got hooked on artificially sweetened supplements like pre-workout and BCAAs. Maybe it was OK then because I was expending so much energy and metabolizing the sweeteners faster, I'm not sure. But lately I've been putting more Equal in my coffee than usual and drinking more Diet Cokes than is healthy (all of these things are stress coping mechanisms for me) and I think the sweeteners can't be good for my palate or for my hormone levels overall.

So those are the health-related tweaks I'm making this week.