Caffeine Before Sleep Negative Effects

by | Jan 14, 2020 | Sleep | 0 comments

Does Caffeine Before Sleep Affect Health?

Do You want a cup of coffee? “Yes” would be the answer of billions of people All Around the World to this simple question. In fact, caffeine is one of the most commonly used ingredients in the World.

Do You drink coffee or use products that consist of caffeine before sleep? And do You do it knowingly or just because it is something tasty You just want before sleep?

There are a lot of researches about caffeine effects on your body. As well, there are recommendations for advisable doses of caffeine per day. Why so and does caffeine influence sleep and is it appropriate to use caffeine in respect to sleep hygiene? – Read further.

By the way, if you want to know more about sleep hygiene, go to our previous article HERE.

But more about caffeine and sleep read further in this article.

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And First Of All – What Is Caffeine?

Caffeine is a natural stimulant that works by stimulating the central nervous system (brain). So helping you to stay alert and preventing the onset of tiredness.

 Once consumed, caffeine is quickly absorbed from the gut into the bloodstream. From bloodstream it travels to the liver and is broken down into compounds that can affect the function of various organs.

There are a numerous ways caffeine acts:

1. In central nervous system caffeine functions by blocking the effects of adenosine (so caffeine acts like adenosine receptor antagonist).

Adenosine is a neurotransmitter that relaxes the central nervous system. And there is also a role for adenosine in regulation of sleep. Normally, adenosine levels are build up all over the day.

But caffeine connects to adenosine receptors blocking them (so without activating them), thereby there is no more place for adenosine to connect with his receptors.

And so adenosine receptors stay unactivated. In simple words, caffeine acts like another key that locks a door and does not let adenosine into his house.

So from this point of view caffeine does not stimulate central nervous system itself, but just does not let adenosine to suppress the brain.

2. Caffeine may also increase blood adrenaline levels and increase brain activity of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine. This combination further stimulates the central nervous system and promotes a state of arousal, alertness and focus. 

Good to know: the amount found in one cup of coffee can take as little as 20 minutes to reach the bloodstream and about one hour to reach full effectiveness.

Once in the body, caffeine will persist for several hours: it takes about 3-6 hours for one half of the caffeine to be eliminated. The half-life is the time it takes for your body to eliminate half of the drug. The remaining caffeine can stay in your body for a long time.

Because of stimulating effects to central nervous system caffeine has been called the most popular drug in the world

Where we can found caffeine?

It is mandatory to know that not only coffee contains caffeine. 

Caffeine is naturally found also in the seeds, nuts or leaves of certain plants. Furthermore, in over than 60 plants including the coffee bean, tea leaf, kola nut and cacao pod. 

These natural sources are then harvested and processed to produce caffeinated foods and beverages. But thereby the amount of caffeine in a drink or food will vary with its strength.

If You are interested in Caffeine Chart for different kinds of coffees, teas, energy and soft drinks, find HERE

As far as it is known, caffeine is a stimulant, so it can cause such symptoms like:

  • Increase alertness
  • Reduce fine motor coordination and cause muscule tremors
  • Cause insomnia
  • Cause headaches, nervousness and dizziness, sometimes nausea

It has also been known to result in:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Rapid heartbeat and increased breathing rate
  • Excessive urination or diarrhea
  • Sleep disturbance
  • A “caffeine crash” once the effects wear off

Withdrawal symptoms can occur when You stop taking caffeine after using it regularly for a long time. These symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Sleepiness
  • Low energy levels
  • Bad moods

Positive And Negative Effects Of Coffee

Caffeine is a product that has both positive and negative effects. These effects depend on the amount of caffeine you consume and when you consume it.

Positive effects:

Caffeine is considered a moderately effective alerting agent. It can have a positive effect on your reaction times, mood, and mental performance.

A normal dose of caffeine is about 50 mg to 200 mg. One review reports that after participants ingested 37.5–450 mg of caffeine, they had improved alertness, short-term recall, and reaction time (review You can find HERE).

Caffeine works best when you take it on an intermittent, off-and-on basis. Higher doses can have much more potent effects.

 But remember that if you consume caffeine daily, it is less effective as a stimulant. It is because of Your body builds up a tolerance to caffeine. 

Negative effects:

Caffeine can have a disruptive effect on your sleep. The most obvious effect of the stimulant is that it can make it hard for you to fall asleep.

One study also found that caffeine can delay the timing of your body clock. These effects will reduce Your total sleep time.

Caffeine also can reduce the amount of deep sleep or so-called rapid eye movement sleep that you enjoy. 

The effects of caffeine can occur even when you consume it earlier in the afternoon or evening.

One study found that consuming caffeine 6 hours (remember – the half-life of caffeine acting) before bedtime reduced total sleep time by 1 hour.

These effects also can be stronger in older adults. It takes their bodies a longer time to process caffeine. 

To sum up all written before we can say that caffeine could change and interrupt your sleep hygiene

As a result, we know that caffeine can make it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep. Your sleep may be lighter and you may wake up more often.

Furthermore, You may have to go to the toilet more during the night. So understanding and controlling your caffeine use is important for good and quality sleep.

There are different views on how many hours before bed you should have your last caffeine intake. Some say caffeine should be avoided for at least 3 to 7 hours before going to sleep.

Others say no caffeine after lunch time if you have sleep problems. Many people find that their sleep improves with less caffeine or only having caffeine earlier in the day.

Of course, sleep disruptions caused by caffeine can vary between individuals due to people having different sensitivity levels. It is also necessary to note that metabolism of caffeine is slower in older people and pregnant women, but faster in people using nicotine.

So, if You are one of mentioned persons, think more about Your caffeine consumption habits!

Recommendations:

  • Try to do not use caffeine more than recommended per day (daily intake of less than 400 mg do not seem to have negative health effects in healthy adults. This might be around 5 cups of regular strength black tea or 2 cups of brewed coffee (not too strong) per day
  • Remember that caffeine is found also in tea and other products, not only in coffee;
  • Try to do not use caffeine at least 3-6 hours before sleep. By the way, if You have some sleep problems try to use caffeine only at first half of day (avoid caffeine after lunch)
  • Knowing the caffeine content of your food and drinks can help you keep caffeine intake at a healthy level so you can still reap the benefits of a good night’s sleep
  • Respect other good sleep hygiene patterns for better sleep (HERE is the article about sleep hygiene)
  • Women who are pregnant or nursing should consume even less caffeine or avoid it altogether
  • Parents should limit the amount of caffeine that their children consume
  • People with high blood pressure or other heart problems should avoid high levels of caffeine
  • As always, remember that serious symptoms and sleep disturbances You need to discuss with Your doctor!

As always, I want to repeat that everything we do balanced in most cases does not cause problems. Just be aware of overdose things You should not so much and think about all the good You can get and all the good feelings You can feel. 

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