Drink a lot of coffee and you'll be able to stave off all sorts of treacherous, debilitating and ultimately fatal diseases, but struggle from a lack of enough decent sleep - Maybe from all of that coffee? - and you're going to die...from one of those treacherous, debilitating and ultimately fatal diseases.

    Drink a lot of coffee and you'll be able to stave off all sorts of treacherous, debilitating and ultimately fatal diseases, but struggle from a lack of enough decent sleep - Maybe from all of that coffee? - and you're going to die...from one of those treacherous, debilitating and ultimately fatal diseases.

    That's pretty much where we're at right now, isn't it? The "game-changing" findings of the latest "groundbreaking" studies were released practically in unison last week, and one of them - the one that had my wife and I holding hands while we did an awkward little jumping-around dance in our living room - basically said if you drink coffee on a regular basis, you just might find yourself living a long and happy life, free of a lot of the dreaded diseases that lead to the premature demises of countless other people...who maybe aren't coffee drinkers.

    But our jubilant jump-around was short-lived, once my wife and I learned while watching the news the very next evening that we, too, might be short-lived if we don't start sleeping better at night.

    We love our coffee in the mornings. But at night, we both struggle when it comes to falling asleep rapidly, or staying asleep once we finally fall asleep. It’s nice to roll over and drift back off to la-la land when you briefly wake up in the middle of the night, but it’s a major drag when you wake up and then just lay there.  

   It’s tough for a lot of people, no doubt, in these stressful, frenetic times we live in. It’s almost impossible to just flip the switch in our brains to "off" and instantly nix all of the day's stresses, and the myriad of cold-sweat inducers awaiting you tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that.

    I snore a bit, too. Sometimes I snore more than a bit, and I’m racked with waves of guilt as a result. My wife is very diplomatic about this when I ask her how much I'm contributing to her particular sleep struggles...such a grand person she is.

    These studies...sometimes they can do more harm than good. Is knowing too much sometimes a bad thing? Is a degree of ignorance indeed bliss? Maybe that's why an excellent night's sleep is so rare; we can't keep straight which findings of which study are going to save us, and which ones are going to kill us.

    Watch enough news reports on all of these study findings or Google enough medical or food or behavior studies, and you'll be simultaneously convinced that you're going to live as long as those ancient biblical dudes Noah and Moses, or drop dead the second you walk out your front door the next morning.

   But, still, this latest coffee study is especially encouraging. We've heard over the years that coffee somehow keeps our brains active and can maybe help fend off Alzheimer's and other forms of cruel, heartless dementia. This latest study reinforced that, but also found that consistent coffee consumption can maybe help keep our bodies free of other terrible maladies. The fact that it’s delicious and puts a pep in your step while bulldozing through your to-do list at work...well, that’s like winning the lottery, twice.

    But then the latest sleep study chewed all of that positivity up and spit it out, especially when it comes to dementia. A lack of proper sleep leads to the formation of the very plaques that rob our brains of their amazing abilities, the study found. And if you snore a great deal or experience sleep apnea, according to the study’s result, you could be in especially big trouble. 

    So what’s a conflicted person to do? As a person much older than me once said, “It’s six of one and a half-dozen of the other.”

    While I’m no expert on what precisely that saying means, in a strange way it seems fitting in this particular instance.

    Or maybe I just need a good night’s sleep. Or a stiff cup of joe.