Sleep plays an important role in our physical and mental health and well-being. Now there are many factors that can affect a person’s sleep patterns – lifestyle, environment, habits, health status, physical differences, and even dietary habits. Lets explore the relationship between caffeine and sleep quality.
Eating habits can greatly affect a person’s sleep routine, quality, and duration. Some foods and beverages contain certain chemicals that repel adenosine. Adenosine is a chemical that enhances the mind and body. Caffeine is one of such food that counteracts this chemical.
Caffeine is arguably the most popular drug on the planet and has been shown to provide health benefits, improve focus, mood, productivity and more. Almost every adult on the planet starts their day with a cup of espresso/coffee, and for good reasons: the caffeine in it makes us feel good and prevents symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, and daytime sleepiness.
Caffeine is mainly found in chocolate, cocoa, soft drinks, energy drinks, coffee, and tea. Caffeine can negatively affect your sleep schedule. In this post we will discuss how caffeine affects our sleep patterns and how we can avoid it.
In humans, sleep is greatly affected by caffeine. Caffeine comes naturally from cacao and cola trees. It is a natural psychoactive substance that inhibits sleep.
The relationship between caffeine and sleep quality
How does caffeine affect sleep? Caffeine is known as a “stimulant”. Caffeine acts as an “adenosine receptor antagonist”. Adenosine causes drowsiness, and when a person consumes caffeine, the body counteracts this chemical and increases alertness – keeping the person awake.
Caffeine begins to affect your body after about 30 to 60 minutes. It stays in your body for 4-5 hours (at least). These 4 to 5 hours are called the half-life of caffeine in your body. During this period, the most pronounced effect of caffeine appears. But the reactions don’t go away after halftime. It lasts 8-10 hours (as long as the drink needs to be digested).
Caffeine has both positive and negative effects on the body, depending on its intake, frequency, and quality.
The positive effects of caffeine
As we read earlier, caffeine releases stimulating hormones and prevents drowsiness. It’s an exciting factor. A suitable dose of caffeine is 50-200 mg. It can have beneficial effects on your reactions, reaction time, cognitive performance, and mental structure. Caffeine works best when taken at regular intervals or intermittently. At longer intervals, this can have serious consequences. Consuming caffeine every day also allows your body to adapt to its effects. It is no longer a tonic for your body.
Side effects of caffeine
Caffeine has a thermogenic effect on sleep. The most notable effect of the stimulant found in caffeine is that it can disrupt your sleep cycle, making it harder to fall asleep. Caffeine also reduces the intensity of sleep. Even if it is taken in the afternoon or evening, the effects of caffeine can be seen before bedtime. According to a study, caffeine can shorten your sleep by an hour if consumed 6 hours before bedtime. Long-term use of high doses of caffeine can cause serious complications during pregnancy.
Also, the effects are more severe in older adults because it takes longer for their bodies to process and respond to caffeine. Excessive caffeine consumption can cause the following effects:
- muscle tremors
- Increased breathing rate
- increased heart rate
Does caffeine make me anxious?
Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system and causes a burst of energy. Usually people drink coffee in the morning to “wake up”, but some people drink coffee at night. Caffeine before bed is the worst. While caffeine can boost your energy levels, it’s not the same as sleep that calms, refreshes, and relaxes you.
The dose taken and the individual’s activity status also affect the effectiveness of caffeine. For example, if a person feels very sleepy – caffeine intake can inhibit the absorption of adenosine and continue it. However, if a person is already sufficiently active and alert and still consumes caffeine, they can overreact and cause anxiety, stress, and insomnia.
Let’s wrap it up:
Everyone reacts differently to caffeine. You can drink coffee in the middle of the day without it interfering with your sleep. Or you may have trouble falling asleep or have restless sleep if you have caffeine close to bedtime.
There is no recommended time frame for consuming caffeine. But some recommendations suggest that you have your last caffeinated food or drink about six hours before going to bed. This is about noon for most people.
For this reason, it is recommended that you consume moderate amounts of caffeine over a period of time so that your sleep patterns are not affected, and you can live a healthier life.
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