There are many myths surrounding coffee, and I’m sure you’ve heard a few at one point or another, but to be honest almost all are simply not true. Sorry to burst your bubble, but coffee won’t cure your hangover, it isn’t going to stunt your growth, and it’s not going to cause cancer.
In fact, coffee comes with a host of health benefits and studies have indicated that consuming a moderate amount of coffee regularly can have a positive effect on digestion, the cardiovascular system, and can also help to prevent Alzheimer’s Disease.
However, with that said one coffee myth that keeps popping up is whether you can drink coffee before bed. Studies have suggested that drinking coffee before bed can cause sleep disorders, which in turn can negatively influence your health.
So what’s the deal with bedtime coffee, is it good or bad? For all you caffeine addicts reading this blog, here are the facts.
How A Bedtime Coffee Affects Your Body Clock
Sorry coffee junkies, but if you’re already suffering from getting a good full night’s sleep, knocking back a strong coffee late in the day isn’t going to do you any favors and will, unfortunately, keep you wide eyed and restless.
Your body is made up of cells, and each of these cells has their own particular circadian rhythm, as the day starts to wear down and the sun is setting your cells automatically start to prepare the body for rest.
However, unbeknown to the cells in your body you have a hot date waiting for you at your local coffee shop at 6 pm. You order a double shot of espresso, and as soon as you take your first sip, your cells are jolted back into action, keeping you wide awake and providing you all the nutrients you need to stay wide eyed and alert.
You’ve finished your late evening rendezvous at your local coffee shop, you get home, and you look at your watch, it say’s 10.45pm, and you’re ready for bed, but your cells have other ideas – they’re still wide awake!
The problem now is when you finally nod off your sleep isn’t going to be a deep, healthy sleep, the restorative kind that leaves you fully rested and prepared to tackle the following day.
What happens next I’m sure many of you reading this can relate to, the endless cycle of drinking coffee all day to stay to awake and alert because you had a restless night sleep due to coffee before bed. A late night coffee is going to disrupt your body’s natural sleep pattern, and if you’re already a light sleeper, you’re going to struggle to get any sleep at all.
How Many Hours Before Bed Should You Stop Drinking Coffee?
Now the problem is trying to work out the latest time to drink coffee before bed, how late can I drink coffee and still sleep? Don’t worry, there have been many sleep studies to work out exactly that. This study documented that drinking one cup of coffee up to six hours before bedtime did actually disrupt the sleep cycle of the subjects (even if it’s just for an hour).
This slight interruption in your sleep pattern most probably would go unnoticed by you, but it just goes to show you that a small amount of caffeine consumed up to six hours before bed can affect your sleep pattern.
But it’s not all doom and gloom my caffeine fueled friends. Many sources state that caffeine will flush from your system within 4 to 6 hours (and the above study proves the same). So that means that much-needed mid-afternoon coffee to push you through the finals hours of your work day shouldn’t have any adverse effects on your sleep by the time you go to bed.
But with that said no study can be 100% conclusive as our bodies function is different ways, caffeine may leave your system faster than others. So before you knock back that late evening double shot latte ask yourself whether it’s too late, only you know to answer to that!
The take away advice here is to try not to have a coffee up to 6 hours before you hit the sack, a bedtime coffee is probably going to be a bad idea unless you’re planning on dancing the night away in your local discotheque!
Is Decaf Coffee At Night Okay?
Decaf coffee before bed? Think again. Decaffeinated is a somewhat misleading term because the process of removing caffeine doesn’t actually remove all of it and some decaf coffee brands still have as much as 20% of the caffeine left in the coffee.
Now it may not seem like much and to be honest, you’re not going to get much of a buzz from a cup of decaf, but it’s probably enough to keep the cells in your body awake. But if you need a coffee before you go to bed decaf is going to be the better choice than a regular brew.
If you’re finding that caffeine is a real problem for you (god help you), try switching to decaffeinated herbal tea’s late in the evening or before bed. Surprisingly, naturally decaffeinated teas are becoming more popular, and they actually taste pretty good (not as good as coffee but you get my point).
One brand that I recommend, that’s made from dandelion root, and chicory is Teeccino Coffee. This herbal tea makes for a perfect bedtime coffee replacement for those of you struggling to sleep.
Another caffeine-free option is Capomo. Made from Maya nut, this coffee alternative brew a delicious tasting beverage that tastes just like coffee, but without the caffeine content.
And lastly, the reason why you can’t sleep may not have anything to do with coffee, and there’s a possibility it’s a psychological cause. You could be worried about work the next day, or you’re simply to revved up from your evening’s activities to get any shut eye when you do finally hit the bed.
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