How one coffee company reinforces our culture of sleep deprivation

I love coffee. Ask my wife, I’m quite particular about it in the morning. I grind the beans each morning and brew a nice French Press. Quality beans are essential. But, there needs to be just enough to use because extra ground coffee in the grinder is a no-no. Coffee should be strong, smooth, and with a nice bold flavor. A good cup of coffee is like a good glass of wine.

Coffee also has some interesting health benefits. For example, moderate consumption each day can protect against some chronic diseases such as diabetes. life is short_caribou slogan

At the same time, I’m also careful about when I drink coffee during the day. Caffeine has a half-life of 5 to 6 hours (depending on the person), or the time it takes for your body to eliminate one half of the chemical. Drink coffee too close to bedtime and you’ll likely feel a difference with your sleep quality (or even trouble falling asleep). And, when possible, sleep is something we should never sacrifice.

This is what I struggle with about Caribou Coffee’s slogan: “Life is short. Stay awake for it.” Now, don’t get me wrong, I think they make a pretty good cup of coffee (I always stick with the dark roast). And being a Minnesotan now, I’m not trying to bash on a great Minneapolis-based company.

But, does such a slogan reinforce our culture’s acceptance of sleep deprivation? We already know a lot about how many people lack enough, high-quality sleep. We also know some of the ramifications this has on everything from learning, to productivity, to long-term health. Life is short, that part of the slogan I agree with. We shouldn’t, however, forgo one of the body’s most important processes out of fear (our own and reinforced by others) we might miss out on something.

Instead of trying to stay awake longer, why not cut out some of your distractions and make your time awake even more productive, satisfying, and rewarding?


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