One of the most talked about drugs within the sleep industry is caffeine and how it impacts sleep. While some people don’t think caffeine impacts their sleep others know they can’t sleep if they have caffeine after a certain time of day. Everyone handles caffeine differently.
Caffeine is a natural product that can be extracted from plants. On any given day, about 85% of Americans use caffeine products. A typical cup of brewed coffee has about 160 mg while a 5 hours energy drink can have as much as 225 mg The average daily consumption of caffeine by adults in the U.S.is about 300 mg per person. This is about three times higher than the world average.
Now let's get some science out of the way: Adenosine is a neurochemical continuously produced by the body that builds up through the day causing sleepiness and caffeine keeps you awake by blocking the action of adenosine. Taken in moderation caffeine is considered a moderately effective alerting agent. It can have a positive effect on your reaction times, mood and mental performance. At high doses caffeine can produce toxic effects like tremor, sweating, anxiety and rapid heart beat. Withdrawal symptoms like headache, sleepiness and low energy can occur when a heavy caffeine user stops using caffeine.
If you are a caffeine consumer, monitor your consumption especially when you last consume caffeine before going to bed. Limiting caffeine to before 3 pm is generally a good idea. Usually the closer you consume caffeine to bedtime the more significant sleep impact caffeine will have on your sleep. For those that consume caffeine late in the day and have no problem falling asleep, monitor how you feel in the morning and how you slept. Are you refreshed? Were you able to fall asleep quickly?
Studies have shown that consuming caffeine negatively impacts sleep by approximately 1 hour per night*. While that doesn’t sound like much, when you extract that out over a week, that is like obtaining an extra night’s worth of sleep. When extracted out over a year, you get 52 days of sleep back. An hour of sleep has a big impact!
Stuck on caffeine and feel you can’t change? You are not alone and it can be difficult to manage. Try to change your last intake of caffeine by moving it 30 minutes earlier every day. Switch to half caffeinated beverages. While a bit expensive, really good decaffeinated coffee or tea can give you all the taste but none of the sleep problems.Monitor your sleep and see the positive impact it is having. And, once you do this, be on your way to getting back 52 nights of sleep a year.