How Does Caffeine Affect Your Sleep?

Posted by Jack Grossman on Jan 24, 2014 11:41:00 AM

Caffeine is currently the stimulant most widely used by Americans on a regular basis. However, most Americans do not think about the potential ramifications that a 2 p.m. cup of coffee can have on their quality of sleep. Caffeine has a half life of 8 hours, meaning that it takes 8 hours for its effects on your alertness and wakefulness to ware off. So, if someone was planning on going to sleep at 11:00 p.m., then they should not drink a cup of coffee, or consume any substance with caffeine for that matter, after 3:00 p.m.
Several studies have been conducted, including one which was done by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, to study the effects that caffeine has on humans. This study took 24 test subjects, 12 men and 12 women, and separated them into three groups. These group were allowed to drink coffee between 0 hours, 3 hours and 6 hours before going to sleep. The study found that the effects of caffeine disrupted all three of the group's sleeping patterns. The test results showed that caffeine did have a detrimental effect on the quality of the test participants sleep, suggesting that in order to prevent difficulty in falling asleep, people should attempt to cut off all consumption of caffeine 8 hours prior to going to sleep. If you are one of those people who feel like you need to drink coffee in order to keep yourself going during the day then you should attempt to replace that afternoon cup of coffee with a cup of tea.

Facts to Know
  • Caffeine 6 hours before bed will reduce sleep by at least 1 hour.
  • Cut off caffeine at 2 p.m. to assure restful sleep.
  • Deep, restorative sleep will be prevented if you consume caffeine after 2 p.m.
Caffeine Alternatives 
  • Apples --> an energizing fruit due to its high fructose content, which increases blood sugar and alertness.
  • Vitamin B12 --> Increases blood melatonin levels, a naturally occurring chemical that facilitates healthy sleep.
If you are interested in learning more about why sleep matters, visit our Sleep Matters Blog, sponsored by Kensington Furniture and NBC40.

Topics: Sleep Matters