How Does Caffeine Affect Sleep?
Caffeine can impact the onset of sleep and reduce sleep time, efficiency, and satisfaction levels8. Older adults may also be more susceptible to caffeine-induced sleep troubles. Caffeine notably reduces the time of slow-wave sleep9, which is the stage of deep, restful sleep that leaves us feeling refreshed and alert in the morning. Caffeine-interrupted sleep can lead to sleep deprivation the following day, which is characterized by fatigue and problems with learning, memory, problem-solving, and emotion regulation10.
One study examined the effects of caffeine intake zero, three, and six hours before bedtime, and found that even caffeine consumed six hours before bed11 could reduce sleep time by one hour. In addition, study participants reported sleeping problems when consuming caffeine 0-3 hours before bed, but they did not realize their sleep was also disrupted when consuming caffeine six hours before bed. If you have difficulty sleeping, consider limiting any caffeine intake six hours before bed, ideally longer – I personally stop caffeine 8 hours before bed.
How Can I Tell if Caffeine Is Affecting My Sleep?
Are you struggling with insomnia, fogginess, loss of concentration, headaches, or anxiety during the day? This could be a sign of caffeine overuse and dependence. Troubles during the night, like frequent awakenings, inability to fall asleep, and night-time anxiety may also be a sign caffeine is interfering with your sleep. If you find yourself excessively sleepy during the day and caffeine isn’t helping, it could be a sign you are sleep deprived from extended caffeine use. In that case, it may be time to put down the coffee and catch up on some much-needed rest.
OK, what should I do?
Well, ill keep this part quick and simple. Caffeine actually has many health benefits but for the purpose of this, I'll let you go away and Google why caffeine is so great!
It's great to start the day off with a good dose of caffeine to wake you up in the morning and throughout the day, I personally like the taste of coffee so have a couple throughout the day however I roughly 12pm in the afternoon, 9 hours before I go to bed. I've found this works best for me and my advice to you would be to stop somewhere between 10 and 6 hours before bed, the longer the better.
A couple of things to watch out for though, many other foods and drinks contain high amounts of caffeine so I've listed a few below for you to avoid.
The green tea caught me out for a long time! I know drink a few peppermint teas in the evening, sounds horrible but I really like them.