Caffeine can be a God-sent when you’re trying to stay up and study, complete a project, or binge-watch your favorite series. Most of us are guilty of reaching for a cup of coffee, green tea, or that can of energy drink.  However, caffeine can be your worst nightmare when you are trying to fall asleep. 

A caffeinated drink in the morning or early afternoon is quite okay, however, having it close to your bedtime can severely impact your ability to fall asleep.

Caffeine is rapidly circulated throughout your body after consumption, including to your brain. Caffeine produces its most well-known result, keeping you awake and alert. 

Caffeine achieves this by inhibiting adenosine receptors, which are brain receptors that help you fall asleep. Caffeine is able to do this because, in terms of molecular structures, it resembles adenosine, a naturally occurring substance in your body that usually binds to these receptors. 

Additionally, research has found that consuming caffeine close to bedtime interferes with circadian melatonin rhythms4, delaying the start of sleep. Circadian rhythms are biological cycles that follow a 24-hour period, similar to our sleep-wake cycle.

Caffeine’s half-life, which normally runs from 4-6 hours, is used to gauge the substance’s effects. The half-life is the amount of time it takes for your body to process half of the caffeine you ingested. A caffeinated beverage you take in the afternoon may therefore keep you awake at night due to its six-hour half-life. 

So how late is too late? Well, the majority of specialists advise choosing a caffeine cutoff time of 2 or 3 p.m.

The findings of one study demonstrated that consuming coffee even up to six hours before bedtime can affect sleep, even if you aren’t aware of the disruption.

Our thoughts and feelings are directly impacted by lack of sleep. Chronic sleep deprivation can increase the long-term risk of physical and mental health issues, albeit the short-term effects are more obvious.

Lack of sleep has a direct impact on how a person feels during the day. Examples of these signs are as follows:

  • Sluggish thinking
  • Short attention span
  • Poor memory
  • Making poor or dangerous decisions
  • Not enough energy

Caffeine is good in small doses remember moderation is key, and try to find healthier alternatives to help keep your brain functioning throughout the day. If you find yourself feeling lethargic throughout the day even when you avoid caffeine then maybe you might be experiencing a type of sleep disorder like sleep apnea, please schedule an appointment to speak to our doctor about your concerns, we have experienced doctors for sleep apnea treatment in Boise, ID.