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We continue to discuss ways to get better sleep, this time addressing the potential sleep-robber of Caffeine

coffee coud be to blame fo your sleep problems A week or so ago we started the discussion on how to get better sleep. We talked about how your phone, tablet, or computer or electronic devices may be affecting your sleep. If you missed that post, check it out here - Tips To Sleep Better Part 1. This week I want to talk about how caffeine affects your sleep.

How Does Caffeine Affect Your Sleep?

We as a nation tend to drink a lot of caffeine, whether it be in tea, coffee, soda, or in energy drinks. The US specifically consumes approximately 3x as much caffeine per person as the average in the world. Caffeine is a stimulant and is disruptive to our sleep. The reason most of us drink it to help us wake up and feel alert, therefore drinking it before you go to sleep is a no no.

I hear all the time “I struggle to get to sleep”, when I ask when their last coffee/caffeinated beverage is they say “ah about 1 hour before I go to bed”. Well there is a potential reason you’re not sleeping.

But just when should we stop drinking caffeinated drinks?

How long before bed should I have my last coffee?

common energy drinks affect sleep tooA study by researchers at Michigan’s Henry Ford Hospital’s Sleep Disorders & Research Center, and Wayne State College of Medicine found that even when people consumed caffeine up to 6 hours before going to sleep, it significantly reduced their sleep time and quality of sleep. This was not just a test of “how do you feel”, the participants wore heart rate monitors and sleep monitors to measure the effects. At 6 hours prior to sleep, participants said they did not feel that the caffeine had affected their sleep, however the data from the heart rate monitors and sleep monitors proved otherwise.

With caffeine taken immediately before, 3 hours before and 6 hours before sleep, they also found that it significantly affected the amount time they were awake during the night.

So what can you do to prevent caffeine from robbing your sleep?

Try a Caffeine Curfew

If you are aiming to go to sleep at 10.30pm, then I recommend having your last caffeinated drink before 2.30pm.

That’s an 8 hour space, and although all the caffeine won’t be out of the body, you will be giving yourself a much better chance of a good nights sleep. The more time you give yourself the better. Perhaps limiting yourself to one or two cups of coffee in the morning would be your best option.

Just Say No to All Day Caffeine

Do you reach for a soda or energy drink in the afternoon? Do you order the double shot espressos or giant lattes and then sip on them all day at the office? Or perhaps just drink a green tea in the afternoon because you think it's better for you than coffee? All these sources have caffeine, and in the case of energy drinks, sodas, and most lattes, a bunch of added sugar as well. They are likely doing you more harm than good if you find yourself reaching for them all day, and depending on the boost of caffeine.

Treat the Cause, Not The Symptom

Caffeine is just a quick fix to mask an underlying energy or attention problem. Ask yourself these questions instead before you reach for more caffeine:

  • Why are you tired in the first place?
  • Did you drink enough water today?
  • Did you get enough sleep last night?
  • Have you eaten the right foods today?
  • Do you need to get up and move around or exercise today?

Many times, if you identify the root cause of why you feel sluggish, you can correct it without needing the extra caffeine! Listen to your body, ask questions, and be smart about when you do consume caffeine. A little in the morning is fine, but to get better sleep, implement a caffeine curfew and tune into your body.

Need More Help?

If you would like more help working on your health and fitness and want to be sure to get results, contact us to schedule a free consultation today! We look forward to helping you achieve your goals.

reFORM Studios Personal Training, 1081-B East Montague Ave, North Charleston, SC 29405 // 843-284-3340

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