Caffeine and sleep

How does drinking coffee affect a good night’s sleep?

Serious coffee drinkers claim they can drink their favourite cuppa late at night and still sleep like a baby. But for most people, caffeinated drinks are a no-no before bedtime.

Caffeine addicts beware

Research suggests that you should avoid too much food and drink containing caffeine before you go to sleep.

That includes:

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Cola and energy drinks
  • Chocolate and cocoa drinks

The reason to avoid caffeine at night is because it’s a stimulant. It blocks sleep-inducing chemicals in the brain and increases adrenaline production.

And it doesn’t take long to affect how you feel. Caffeine enters your bloodstream shortly after you drink it – within 30 to 60 minutes.

Drinking coffee can make us feel more alert – which is why it’s usually enjoyed first thing in the morning.

How long before bed should you avoid coffee and other caffeine-sources?

 

For a long time, experts couldn’t decide. Some said “no caffeine after midday”. Others claimed 3pm was the magic time to stop. Other studies suggested that caffeine consumed even 6 hours before bedtime significantly diminished sleep quality and sleep quantity.

The reason you need to stop drinking coffee so early in the day is because it stays in your system for quite some time. Did you that it takes around 6 hours for your body to get rid of half of the caffeine in a cup of coffee?

The sweet spot: how many cups of coffee can you drink before you’re messing with your sleep

The experts claim that the ‘ideal’ number coffee cups (that’s a standard cup, which includes about 250 milligrams of caffeine) is three per day. Six or more, and you’re buzzing!

For most people, drinking coffee is something you do to get through your day at work. Or it’s a reason to meet up with friends. But caffeine causes real physical dependence. In fact, regular coffee drinkers need more of it to get the same ‘kick’ because they become tolerant to its effects.

Even taken moderately, coffee can:

  • Make you feel more alert
  • Reduce your fine motor coordination
  • Cause insomnia
  • Result in headaches, nervousness and dizziness

Caffeine intake can even cause:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Excessive urination
  • Sleep disturbance
  • A "caffeine crash" once the effects wear off

    The good news: the health benefits of drinking coffee

    Thankfully, for lovers of coffee and other caffeinated drinks, it’s not all bad news.

    1. Coffee may be good news for your heart
      Various studies on coffee and health found that healthy people who had three to five cups a day had a 15 percent decreased risk of cardiovascular disease compared with those who drank no coffee.
    1. Coffee boosts your brain power
      Coffee helps us stay alert and can help us concentrate. Numerous studies have also shown that coffee boosts cognitive performance.
    1. Lower risk of type 2 diabetes and liver cancer
      Research found that regular coffee drinkers seem to have a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and liver cancer (as much as 40%!).

    Could a new mattress or ergonomic pillow make the difference?

    So, enjoy your regular cup of coffee or tea, but to avoid the downside and take care of your caffeine intake:

    • Drink caffeine beverages in moderation
    • Don’t drink them too close to bedtime


    A more comfortable mattress or ergonomic pillow could also help to get a better night’s sleep. The
    SleepX range of mattresses are designed to give you optimum comfort and support. And they offer a 120-night guarantee. If you’re not happy, just return your mattress for a full refund. Check out the SleepX mattress range today: six different sizes and three comfort feels to choose from. For more information visit sleepx.com.au or call 1800 975 337.