Caffeine and Sleep: Not a Good combination for Some
Posted Jan 15 2011 12:00am
Everyone is affected differently by caffeine. Some people can enjoy a nice cup of coffee right before bed with dessert, and be fine for sleeping. Others (like me) are very careful about how much caffeine we ingest during the afternoon. I once had a large cold thai coffee at a Vietnamese restaurant that kept me up for 2 days. Caffeine at the wrong time of the day can be a detriment to my sleep routine, as for many other people.
How long does it take caffeine to eliminate out of your system? Well let’s say you consume 1 cup of coffee in the morning. On average an 8 oz cup of coffee contains about 133 mg of caffeine.** Depending on your metabolism, it can take 8-14 hours to eliminate a ½ of the total amount of caffeine you consumed (66.5 mg of caffeine).
According to the National Sleep Foundation , caffeine enters the bloodstream through the stomach and small intestine and can have a stimulating effect as soon as 15 minutes after it is consumed. That is why people say they cannot function without that first cup of coffee in the morning. Caffeine is a stimulant and can increase alertness.
So if you have not been experiencing restful sleep, avoid caffeine in the afternoon and at night. Some experts go as far as to say to stop drinking any caffeine passed 10 a.m. Ithink that rule of thumb is applies to me. When i say caffiene, I mean tea, pop, Red Bull, lattes, and even chocolate. Many people become sleepy around 2-3 p.m, and reach for that cup of coffee or can of pop mistakenly thinking that it is a midday pick me up. Not a good idea, especially if you have trouble sleeping at night.
Other simple suggestions for better sleep include avoiding exercise 2-3 hours before bed, as this can increase your heart rate. Don’t smoke and avoid alcohol because it can cause an interrupted sleep later on in the night time. Make your environment comfortable for sleeping: Cool, dark, quiet and comfortable. Sleep on a comfortable mattress and use supportive neck pillows . Finally, maintaining a routine of going to sleep at about the same time each night is suggested. Your body will thank you with better sleep overall.
** many people are fans of Starbucks coffee. A 16oz Grande Coffee contains 320 mg of caffeine. A 16 oz Dunkin Donuts Coffee Regular contains 206 mg of caffeine.