Do you reach for a cup of coffee when you wake up in the morning? Many of us do! Maybe it’s the smell, the first cup you drink that tastes so delicious or the feeling of more energy on Monday morning that you look forward to? There are a variety of reasons that people enjoy coffee and like everything in life, it is fine in moderation for adults to consume. Of course, children must avoid coffee completely. It can negatively affect the quality and quantity of their nutrition by acting as an appetite suppressant.
As a Sleep Specialist I work with individuals everyday to resolve their most challenging sleep problems. I know people are typically only motivated to cut back on their caffeine habit once they have a clear understanding as to why and how it affects their sleep. Here are common reasons.
- Caffeine acts as a stimulant. The one thing that you love about it is the same thing that is often causing or at least contributing to insomnia – at least when you consume too much at the wrong time of day. It can also increase feelings of anxiety or irritability.
- It stays in your system longer than you think. Caffeine stays in your system between 4-6 hours. However, a quarter of that caffeine will stay in your system for as long as 12 hours!
So what can you do to enjoy your cup of coffee and get a good night’s sleep? You don’t have to cancel all of your coffee dates but instead, be mindful of these important tips to keep caffeine in check.
- Make sure to limit caffeine to no more than two 8 oz. cups per day, preferably before 10:00 a.m.
- Cut down on the amount of caffeine that you consume. Instead try decaf, a half cup of coffee, an energizing herbal tea instead such as peppermint, or decaffeinated green tea.
- Replace your coffee with a healthy alternative. Many of us crave caffeine after lunch when our internal clock causes us to naturally feel sleepy. Taking a short walk and getting some fresh air and sunshine can help us feel more alert. Bonus points for taking a 20-minute nap when time permits.
- Watch for hidden caffeine consumption found in cocoa, caffeinated teas, popular energy drinks, and some soft drinks.
Of course, you will also want to make sure that you have a solid sleep routines in place as well if you are faced with sleep challenges so don’t forget to create a peaceful sleep environment, a relaxing bedtime routine and make sure that you aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
Looking for help with kicking the endless cycle of poor sleep night after night? Schedule a complimentary Discovery call here.