Can’t Stop the Caffeine

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It’s true, I’m a coffee fanatic. What gets me up in the morning? Coffee. What gets me through an afternoon slump? Coffee. It’s easily the first thing I think about in the morning and even the first thing I look for when planning trips to new cities.

While it’s easy to assume most people drink coffee for the caffeine boost, I love drinking coffee just as much for the flavor – chai tea latte to be exact.

But what kind of impact does my coffee addiction have on my day, especially my sleep? Check out some things I’ve learned that will help you stay awake throughout the day without negatively impacting your nightly slumber.

The Daily Grind

Have a long road trip or an essay due? Caffeine can help you stay awake and alert, which can be beneficial if you need to work or study late at night.

It’s been shown to improve cognitive function, memory, and reaction time, making it useful for tasks that require mental focus and can even temporarily increase your metabolic rate, which may help with weight loss efforts.

Did you know that caffeine can aid in reduced pain perception? Caffeine has analgesic properties and can help alleviate headaches and migraines, which can interfere with everyday tasks and sleep.

[Coffee] Beans Before Bed

Now, let’s talk about the real reason I decided to take a deep dive into the study of coffee – sleep. As a gal in her mid 30’s, sleep has become more and more difficult. When I started looking at potential factors of why sleep was getting harder and harder, I realized there was one thing each day had in common. You guessed it, coffee. And as much as I don’t want to admit it, I’ve learned a few things that I think are worth sharing.

Since caffeine is a stimulant, it can interfere with your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep which can delay the onset of sleep, reduce total sleep time, and decrease sleep quality.

It can also reduce sleep efficiency! Caffeine can decrease the amount of time spent in deep sleep, which we all know is essential for restorative rest.

To Decaf or Not to Decaf? That is the question.

So, what do all of you coffee aficionados need to know? 
Decaf can be your friend, especially at night. If you choose to consume caffeine before bed, it is recommended to limit your intake to a moderate amount. The general guideline is to avoid consuming caffeine within 4-6 hours of bedtime so try going decaf!

Pay attention to how caffeine affects your sleep. If you notice that even small amounts of caffeine disrupt your sleep, it’s best to avoid it altogether before bed.

It sounds like a given, but don’t rely on caffeine as an energy aid: While caffeine can provide temporary alertness, it’s vital for you to get a proper night’s rest. Using caffeine to compensate for lack of sleep can lead to a cycle of dependency and further sleep disruption.

Now that you know a few pros and cons about a good jug of java, go out and enjoy your cup! Just make sure it’s early enough in the day for you to catch a solid night of zzzz’s.