A new well-publicised study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and Imperial College London* has found that drinking more coffee could
A new well-publicised study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and Imperial College London* has found that drinking more coffee could be linked to a lower risk of death – but could a pattern of coffee reliance during the day and alcohol dependency in the evening after work be a symptom of employee stress which is exacerbated in winter months?
Christine Husbands, managing director for RedArc says: “Caffeine and alcohol are unhealthy ways to cope with stress and in fact they can perpetuate the situation rather than resolve it. We all know is can be harder to stay positive in the darker, winter months and so this caffeine/alcohol reliance becomes a viscous circle as employees rely on the stimulating properties of caffeine to get through the day and the sedative effects of alcohol to counteract the former later on. There is very close relationship between sleep and mental health and anything that disrupts getting a decent night’s shut-eye is not conducive to our mental wellbeing.”
Enjoying tea, coffee and wine in moderation is clearly okay but if consumed too regularly and in excess, it can be a signal that there is something else at stake and that that individual may be struggling to cope with either work pressures or issues outside of work. Regardless, stress, anxiety and depression – whatever the cause – are likely to impact on work performance and so employers should have measures in place to support staff before a mental health condition escalates.
For adults, a safe limit for caffeine consumption is no more than 400 mg a day. That’s over 5 shots of espresso!
According to Care2 – here are some of the caffiene hits in some drinks.
- Decaf espresso: 10mg in one shot (1 oz.)
- Hot cocoa: 10mg in a 12 oz. serving
- Decaf drip coffee: 20 mg caffeine in a 12 oz. serving
- Green tea: 40mg in a 12 oz. serving
- Black tea: 60 mg in a 12 oz. serving
- Caffeinated soda (Coke): 65 mg in a 12 oz. serving
- Espresso: 75 mg in one shot (1 oz.)
- Latte or cappuccino: 75 mg in a 12 oz. serving, including 1 shot of espresso
- Matcha tea: 105 mg in a 12 oz. serving
- French press coffee: 200 mg in a 12 oz. serving
- Drip coffee: 250 mg caffeine in a 12 oz. serving
- Cold brew coffee: 280mg in a 12 oz. serving
Christine Husbands, adds: “Over the past few years we have seen a marked increase in the number of cases relating to mental health as well as the number of referrals to Employee Assistance Programmes. At this time of year, all staff need to be made aware of this ‘caffeine-alcohol’ culture and employers need to make support available directly, and via employee benefits, to support people with lifestyle issues, stress management, anxiety and sleep deprivation.”
Providing third-party nurse advisory services, via employee benefits such as EAPs, group risk and PMI products, is shown to be hugely beneficial as this is not the sort of problem that people traditionally approach their GP about and of course – employers can help by taking a look at free drinks, serving sizes and frequency.