Caffeine: The Pros and Cons for Helping You Sleep Better at Night

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woman in bed

This is a collaborative post.

Most adults consume caffeine daily, with many relying on caffeine’s energising effects to enhance their mood and optimise performance. Caffeine is found naturally in many plants, like tea leaves, coffee beans, cacao pods, and kola nuts. In addition, synthetic caffeine is added to medications and energy drinks.

Caffeine is a standard tool to promote wakefulness in the morning and to keep off sleepiness during the day. However, it has potential side effects, like headaches, jitteriness, and nervousness. It may also interfere with sleep, especially if consumed too late in the day.

Caffeine is a stimulant drug that promotes alertness. In addition, it acts as an adenosine receptor antagonist. Adenosine is a substance in the body that promotes sleepiness. Caffeine blocks the adenosine receptor to keep a person from feeling sleepy. Caffeine starts to affect the body very quickly. It reaches a peak level in the blood within 30-60 minutes.

Caffeine is a product with both positive and negative effects. These effects depend on how much caffeine you consume and when you drink it. For example, low to moderate doses of caffeine (50–300 mg) may cause increased alertness, energy, and ability to concentrate. In contrast, higher doses may have adverse effects such as anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, and increased heart rate.

Amid myths and controversies regarding whether caffeine is good or bad for you, it is clear that moderate consumption may get benefits and risks. However, along with this precaution, if you think you need to take the help of medication because now your insomnia is worsening, you need to visit your doctor or see on ibuyalprazolam.

sleep clock bed

How Does Caffeine Affect Sleep?

Caffeine consumption may make you fall asleep later, sleep fewer hours overall, and make your sleep feel less satisfying. It may also reduce your deep, slow-wave sleep, a critical stage for feeling refreshed the following day.

Caffeine affects our brain by blocking adenosine receptors. Adenosine is a sleep-promoting chemical produced in the brain during waking hours. Typically, adenosine builds up in the brain the longer we are awake. The more it builds up in your brain, the sleepier you feel. When caffeine blocks the process, you remain alert. It may also be why caffeine consumption disrupts sleep.

Caffeine promotes alertness by inhibiting chemicals in your brain that promote sleep. Caffeine is absorbed quickly into the bloodstream and reaches peak levels within 30-70 minutes. Its effects can last 3-7 hours, but it may take up to 24 hours to eliminate caffeine from the body.

Caffeine impacts sleep in several ways.

It may be harder to go to sleep.
Your sleep may be lighter, and you wake up more frequently.
You may need to go to the toilet more frequently during the night.

There are many views regarding how many hours before bed one should have his last caffeine intake. Some believe caffeine should be avoided for at least 3-7 hours before sleep. Others say no caffeine after lunchtime if a person has sleep problems. Many people observe their sleep improves with less intake of caffeine or only having caffeine earlier in the morning.

Can Caffeine Keep You Awake?

Caffeine boosts cognitive functions, such as memory and attention, especially in sleep-deprived people. However, it cannot ward off all long-term sleep loss effects. Even though caffeine marginally improves performance, it is not an alternative for restful, restorative sleep. And, if consumed too late, the alertness-promoting effects of caffeine may linger into the evening and interfere with your sleep.

Whether caffeine effectively keeps a person awake when sleepy and how long caffeine makes him feel alert depends on various factors, like the caffeine dose, how frequently he consumes caffeine, and even his genetic makeup.

Positive Effects of Caffeine

Caffeine is a moderately effective alerting agent. It may positively affect your reaction times, mood and mental performance. A usual dose of caffeine is about 50-200 mg. It works best when you take it on an intermittent, off-and-on basis. Higher doses may have much more potent effects. For example, 500 or 600 mg of caffeine might affect you much like a low dose of amphetamine. When you consume caffeine daily, it gets less effective as a stimulant. It is because your body builds up a tolerance to it.

Caffeine increases alertness, so it is commonly used to combat daytime sleepiness. Frequent, low doses of caffeine help you stay alert if you are prone to sleepiness. It may be one cup of tea, a soft drink or instant coffee every 1-2 hours. Although caffeine may help beat sleepiness, this effect is temporary. It does not replace the benefits of a good night’s sleep.

Negative Effects of Caffeine

Caffeine may have a disruptive effect on your sleep. The most apparent effect of the stimulant is that it may make it hard for you to fall asleep. One study also found that caffeine may delay the timing of the body clock. These effects will reduce the total sleep time. Caffeine also reduces the amount of deep sleep.

The effects of caffeine occur even if you take it earlier in the afternoon or evening. A study found that consuming caffeine six hours before bedtime lessened total sleep time by 1 hour. These effects also can be more robust in older adults. It is because it takes their bodies a long time to process caffeine. Regularly consuming high doses of caffeine cause complications during pregnancy. At high doses, caffeine may produce these common side effects:

increased heart rate
increased breathing rate
diarrhoea
nausea
sweating
muscle tremors

Withdrawal symptoms may occur when you stop consuming caffeine after taking it regularly for a long time. These symptoms are:

headaches
sleepiness
low energy levels
bad moods

Conclusion

Caffeine encompasses both positive and negative attributes. It may be very effective for improving alertness, concentration, and energy. However, these effects can be brief if you consume high caffeine daily. Caffeine also can affect our sleep. It may reduce the quantity and quality of our sleep.  

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