Caffeine affects everybody differently. For every person who can’t touch a drop of coffee past 11am, there’s someone who can smash an espresso at 11pm and have zero issues hitting the sack.
Many of us rely on caffeine as a stimulant to help wake us up for the day, and we can come to depend on our morning grind.
Sometimes it’s good to have a break from caffeine, or at least, to know your limits. Did you know;
- High doses of caffeine can make it harder to fall asleep and reduce sleep quality
- Caffeine is not just in coffee, it can also be present in tea, cola, chocolate, and energy drinks, so look at your overall intake
- Reduce your caffeine intake if you are struggling to get to sleep or stay asleep
- Avoid caffeine before bedtime, or if you are very sensitive, don’t drink it after lunch
- The amount of caffeine can vary widely across different types of coffee and drinks
- Caffeine can also be present in some over-the-counter medications like headache tablets
- Caffeine is a diuretic, making the need to urinate more frequent
- Too much caffeine can cause a rapid heartbeat and unpleasant feelings of anxiety and jitteriness
While caffeine can temporarily make us feel more awake and alert, it can create a negative cycle of highs and lows, where we crash after the effect has worn off, thus needing another caffeine hit.
How long does caffeine affect sleep?
- Caffeine levels will peak in the body 30-70 mins after ingestion
- The effects can last for 3 to 7 hours
- It can persist in the body for up to 24 hours
- Some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others
Caffeine and ADHD
Caffeine can have the effect of masking certain sleep disorders, which can mean they take longer to diagnose. However, some studies show that it could be beneficial in the treatment of other neurological conditions such as ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). ADHD affects people’s behaviour, making them restless, inattentive, and impulsive.
Caffeine interacts with adenosine, a molecule in the body which manages communication between the brain cells, by blocking the binding of the receptors, and enhancing the release of neurotransmitters, promoting alertness and focus. Some studies have shown that;
- Caffeine, plus physical exercise, could treat some people with ADHD
- Another study of US Army soldiers with ADHD showed caffeine can improve cognitive performance
- Caffeine may be less beneficial to adolescents and increase impulsivity
How to fall asleep after drinking caffeine?
You can mitigate the impact of your coffee fix on your sleep schedule, with these tips for better rest;
- Stay hydrated by drinking water before and in between each cup of brew
- Mix decaf with your regular grounds for that second (or third) cup
- Switch to decaffeinated drinks
- Avoid that after-dinner espresso
- Exercise - some studies show that caffeine can improve your work out
- Don’t know your cut-off time? Find out with the help of a tracking app, such as the Simba Sleep Coach to monitor your caffeine intake, and learn how caffeine impacts your sleep patterns
- A comforting weighted blanket can help to reduce restlessness and encourage relaxation