How Caffeine Affects Sleep

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Caffeine Affects Sleep

Many people start their day off with a cup or two of coffee or tea. You might even feel reliant on caffeine to jumpstart your day, but have you ever thought about how it impacts your sleep? While caffeine is generally enjoyable, making sure it doesn’t interrupt sleep hygiene is important for your health. Poor sleep hygiene may be causing your need for more caffeine, so it’s important to ensure caffeine is not causing more drowsiness.

What is Caffeine Exactly?

Caffeine is a moderately stimulating plant extract. It has many natural sources like tea leaves, cacao pods, and coffee beans. Billions of people worldwide consume the stimulant every day either as a hot beverage or cold energy drink. Its concentration in beverages and foods usually varies from product to product as follows:

  • Brewed coffee (8 ounce)– 95 milligrams
  • Brewed tea (8 ounce)– 47 milligrams
  • Energy drink (16 ounce)– 140-180 milligrams
  • Sodas (12 ounce)– 35–65 milligrams

According to research, about 90 percent of adults in the U.S. use a caffeinated drink almost daily. Some people even average 200 milligrams per day. Its organic taste is one of the reasons why caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive substance in the world. If not for its unique flavor, other people use it to stimulate their brains.   

Enhanced physical performance is another possible caffeine impact on the body. This potential benefit explains the substance’s popularity among athletes. However, it can also impact your night’s rest at the end of the day. 

How Caffeine Affects Sleep

Because caffeine is a stimulant, it can make you too alert. It usually blocks a sleep-promoting chemical that should normally be active when you’re ready to go to bed. One study found that consuming caffeine up to six hours before bed reduced sleep by an hour. Older adults whose bodies take longer to eliminate the substance usually experience more severe sleep disruption. 

Besides making sleep shorter and less enjoyable, caffeine use can impact physical health in multiple ways. It can trigger complications during pregnancy, which is why pregnant women should keep their daily intake low. After consuming too much caffeine, some people experience side effects like sweating, diarrhea, and nausea. 

Caffeinated beverages’ potential to increase the user’s heart rate and breathing rate is another reason to drink in moderation. Keep in mind that caffeine is addictive, just like most psychoactive substances. If you used the substance for a long time and then suddenly stopped, you’d likely experience withdrawal effects like:

  • Migraines
  • Drowsiness
  • Tiredness
  • Low energy levels
  • Bad mood 

Caffeine Isn’t All Bad

Even if caffeine can affect your sleep and physical health, it offers many benefits. For starters, the substance is a mood booster that can help with mental health conditions. One study highlighted coffee breaks as a vital enhancer of social and personal wellness for individuals in emotionally taxing professions.   

The growing popularity of tea and coffee cultures around the world testifies to the social value of caffeinated beverages. For many people looking to get together and enjoy their favorite drink without risking intoxication or mental impairment, caffeine is the answer. It’s a much healthier alternative to alcohol.

How to Enjoy Caffeine and Get Good Sleep

The trick to enjoying your caffeine every day without suffering any adverse effects lies in moderate use. By having your cup of coffee or tea at the right time and in appropriate amounts, you can have higher-quality restorative sleep each night. Here are some tips to help with this:

  • Stop drinking coffee in the afternoon– This is too close to your bedtime, and can make it harder for you to fall asleep when you’re ready to.
  • Check your daily caffeine intake– Try not consuming more than 400 milligrams of caffeine (or 8 ounces of coffee) per day. As for energy drinks, don’t drink before checking the product label for the caffeine concentration per serving.
  • Analyze if there are other reasons for poor sleep– Watch out for an uncomfortable sleep environment that may cause your daytime drowsiness, forcing you to use caffeine. Besides regulating your caffeine intake, you may need to look for a full-size plush mattress to protect your body at night. Too much screen time before going to bed or eating too close to bedtime can also impact your sleep quality. 

Caffeine Consumption and Sleep Quality

Although addictive, caffeine consumption is generally safe for your health. It can boost your mood, alertness, and energy levels. Drinking the beverage can also impact your sleep quality, which is why you’ll want to monitor your daily caffeine intake. Incorporate the necessary lifestyle adjustments to ensure you’re getting enough restorative sleep every night.

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