Caffeine is America’s most popular drug, with about 90% of us drinking some form of it every single day. If you’re a tea or coffee fan, you may be familiar with its positive effects, including improved memory, concentration, and even physical performance. However, caffeine is a powerful stimulant, and it often causes harmful side effects as well.
Too much caffeine can lead to various uncomfortable symptoms, but one of the most common is difficulty sleeping. Poor sleep habits, including having coffee or tea before bed, are often the cause of sleep disorders. In many cases, starting a bedtime routine and limiting caffeine intake can drastically improve a person’s sleep quality.
Science Behind Caffeine
Most people know that caffeine can help keep you awake, but few know how it works in the body. Adenosine is a substance in our bodies that causes sleepiness. Stimulants, such as caffeine, act as “adenosine receptor antagonists” and promote alertness, making it more difficult to fall asleep. Natural sources of caffeine can be found in coffee beans, tea leaves, and cocoa beans. However, it can also be produced synthetically for products like soda and energy drinks.
The effects of caffeine are quickly noticeable, reaching a peak level in the blood within 30 to 60 minutes. It also remains in the body for several hours after consumption, resulting in long-lasting restlessness and reduced sleep. Its disruptive effects frequently lead to sleep deprivation, characterized by problems with memory, focus, and concentration. Deep sleep, the most important and restorative form of sleep, is also reduced with caffeine, causing fatigue and sluggishness the following day.
How You Can Sleep Better
If you’re an avid coffee-lover, don’t worry. You can still enjoy in moderation and get a good night’s sleep. However, there are guidelines you can follow to help you sleep better and achieve a more consistent sleep routine:
- Avoid caffeine at least six hours before bed
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Maintain a comfortable, quiet, and relaxing sleep environment
- Avoid exercise and large meals close to bedtime
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day (even weekends)
When to See a Doctor
Changing your sleep habits may relieve mild to moderate sleep issues. However, if you have a more severe sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea, you should receive treatment from a certified sleep specialist. Contact us today for a sleep study and find out how we can help treat your sleep apnea.