Coffee before bed: Is it really such a bad idea?


Coffee before bed: Is it such a bad idea?

Drinking coffee before going to sleep?

During a tour of the US, we ended up in a small village around the evening. We felt like consuming a latte, but all the cafes were already closed. The local cafes seemed to have answered a question we had yet to ask. “Is drinking coffee before going to bed a good idea or not?”

The health benefits of coffee

There are many documented health benefits of coffee. Studies have shown that regularly drinking moderate amounts of coffee positively affects the cardiovascular system and digestion and can even help prevent certain types of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s.

But other studies suggest that drinking caffeine late in the day can cause sleep disturbances, negatively affecting your health.

The Link Between Caffeine And Insomnia: Does Coffee Make You Sleepy?

It turns out that taking caffeine during the day is pretty bad if you can’t sleep at night. Your body is composed of cells, each with its own circadian rhythm. The gears rotate, and as the sun sets, they begin to shift to prepare the body for rest. Your cells don’t know, though, that you have a date at the local cafe at 7:00 PM. You order a large coffee because you are daring and want to enjoy your drink longer than a few espresso shots.

As the delicious liquid floods your body, it passes through each cell and awakens it again. So for the next few hours, your cells will be back to work, keeping you awake and providing you with all the nutrients you need to stay awake.

But now it’s 11 pm, come back from your date and are ready to sleep. However, your cells are fully awake, so once you fall asleep, it’s not the deep, restorative kind that gives you peace of mind and prepares you for the next day. And so begins the cycle of drinking caffeine all day to stay awake because you drank caffeine too late the day before.

Does coffee make you sleepy? Not really; it just disrupts your body’s natural sleep pattern.

What does science say?

Scientists love to study coffee. And can you blame them? Coffee is liquid gold and the most significant research topic ever. Do not worry. None of the studies suggest giving up caffeine altogether.

One study followed 12 participants and found that “caffeine consumption (0, 3, and 6 hours before bed) decreased sleep quality. Sleep monitors measuring total sleep time and efficiency (time spent sleeping versus total time spent in bed) showed that caffeine 6 hours before bedtime had significant adverse effects….”

Another study found: that “A double espresso three hours before bedtime slowed production of the sleep hormone melatonin by about 40 minutes, making it more difficult to fall asleep.”

Suggestions for enjoying caffeine without disrupting sleep usually include limiting your intake after 2 p.m. or just after lunch if you’re sensitive to stimulants or have insomnia.

Hope for the night owls

Researchers also pay attention to differences in individual sleep patterns. In a groundbreaking study conducted with students at Stanford University, researchers helped validate the night owls.

The findings suggest that caffeine taken later in the evening had more negative effects for people who get up early than those who naturally tend to stay up late and sleep in.

More research will be done to find the exact reasons: what makes someone a “morning person” or a “night owl”? Can caffeine have a positive influence on the circadian rhythm?

Make the switch for your sleep.

So is it a good idea to drink coffee before bed? Test what works for you. Not everyone reacts the same to caffeine. Some people are more sensitive than others to its stimulant effect.

  • Drink less than 400mg of caffeine per day
  • Try drinking coffee at a different time of day
  • If you’re a morning person, try drinking decaf or tea, and don’t drink caffeine until 6 hours before hiding under the covers.
  • If you’re a night owl, you might want to consider decaffeinated options to see if it affects your sleep quality.