The general mantra for the new year is ‘New Year, New You’ — a time where we want to let our bad habits go to adopt healthier ones. One of the common habits that people want to change is lessening their caffeine intake, which is easier said than done. Coffee is one of the go-tos whenever you feel an energy slump during the workday — or any day really. Coffee does have a lot of health benefits — although it can mess with your sleep if you’re overdoing it. So how do we not give up our beloved coffee and still get quality sleep? The local herbal coffee company, Mellow Rooster’s owner Mike Choyama has some advice.
Mellow Rooster Founder, Mike Choyama’s Realization of Sleep Importance
Before moving to Denver, Choyama had spent most of life in central Florida. With the goal of going into medicine, he studied biomedical science and biophysics and practiced massage therapy. In addition, he took care of his ill mother and later started a stand-up paddleboarding nature tour on the beautiful back rivers and springs in Florida to help people get outside.
His background led him to open a pain management and mobility clinic after moving to Denver called Sidekick Bodywork which was in Capitol Hill for a few years. Some of the services offered were massage therapy, personal training and acupuncture.
“I had this clinic and I was constantly trying to find out what was the underlying issue [I could solve] that would help everyone that I was working with,” said Choyama. “As I was searching for this underlying piece of the puzzle, I heard this podcast Joe Rogan interviewed Dr. Matthew Walker, a neuroscientist and sleep researcher, he came out with a book a couple of years ago called Why We Sleep.”
The book, Why We Sleep (you may have heard of), came out in 2017 and is now a best-seller, educating people on the importance of sleep. After reading, this was Choyama’s lightbulb moment of finding the piece to the puzzle. What was the number one cause of his clients’ pains? Lack of sleep — or better yet — lack of quality sleep. And wouldn’t you know it, all of his clients with sleep issues were also coffee drinkers? Following this discovery, Choyama started getting his clients which included CEOs and athletes to prioritize sleep as a means to healing.
“When they implemented getting better sleep, the results were fewer injuries, less pain, quicker recovery time, better mental agility and all-around better spirits,” said Choyama.
Replacing Your Afternoon Cup
It first must be said that Choyama is a lover of coffee and still drinks it every day. The real key is cutting back on coffee consumption, and more importantly, the timing of when you drink it. Caffeine has a half-life of five to seven hours meaning it takes 10 to 14 hours for the average adult to fully break it down. In order to get the best night’s sleep possible, you should aim to have no caffeine in your system at bedtime. For Choyama, his cut off time for coffee is 9 a.m. The ideal is to cut off coffee consumption 12 hours before bedtime. If you go to bed at 10 p.m., have your last cup of coffee by 10 a.m. Now if you’re a big-time coffee drinker, it’s much easier said than done.
Many people reach for a decaf coffee in the afternoon in order to avoid the caffeine and still have that taste and placebo effect energy boost.
“Decaf still has traces of caffeine, it’s heavily processed with chemicals,” said Choyama. “I have a love and respect for coffee and I don’t like the idea of it being manipulated in a way that takes it out of its natural form.”
Based on his love for coffee, the need for adequate sleep and a dislike for decaf, he set out to make his own caffeine-free product that tastes like coffee. It took him about a year to develop the blend which originally contained ashwagandha, but now is solely a mix of six roasted fruits and roots.
Mellow Rooster and sleep
Change is not easy, especially when you’ve been drinking coffee throughout the day for years. Choyama suggests blending your regular coffee with a bit of Mellow Rooster, to help get you to accustomed to it. It tastes of a fruity, lightly roasted coffee. In addition, it has a heap of health benefits, it’s anti-inflammatory, aids in digestion and is full of antioxidants and energy-giving nutrients.
It can be brewed in a drip coffee machine — we repeat — it can be brewed in a drip coffee machine. If you’re at work, you usually need something quick, so being able to easily brew it makes it that much more attractive to try. But if you have the time, there are other ways to brew such as french press, pour-over and several more methods.
To summarize, he suggests not giving up coffee, but to have your last cup 10 hours before bedtime. Then, in the afternoon brew up an herbal, coffee alternative such as Mellow Rooster, which will give you a boost of energy without the caffeine side effects. In turn, you get quality sleep which will little by little improve the health of your body and mind.
Mellow Rooster is still a relatively small company, currently with limited supply. Purchase is available on its website or if you live in Denver, a few stores and cafes carry it such as NOOCH Vegan Market and Thump Coffee.