Caffeine and sleep are not good bed partners! Moreover, caffeine is more commonly present in food and drink than you might think. Coffee is the first thought that comes to mind when hearing the word caffeine. Generally, non-coffee drinkers believe they do not use caffeine. However, coffee is only one of the foods and beverages that contain this ingredient. The National Sleep Foundation states there is a connection between caffeine intake and sleep issues. Improve your sleep experience by avoiding products that contain caffeine.
Products that contain caffeine
Manufacturers of food and drink use caffeine in many items. However, natural sources of caffeine are not as abundant. Origins mainly include tea leaves, coffee beans, cocoa beans and kola nuts. Some ingredients that we assume to be good for health, are high in caffeine.
Being able to discern between products that contain caffeine and those that do not is important. Choosing wisely will make all the difference in the quality of your sleep.
Stop the coffee
For those that wish to improve their sleep experience, coffee is the most obvious product to avoid. This beverage contains varying amounts of caffeine depending on the brand.
Medline Plus records that a 250 ml cup of coffee can contain 80mg of caffeine. However, caffeine content varies from brand to brand. According to The Centre For Science In The Public Interest, some contain much more. The same cup can contain up to 215 mg. Furthermore, decaffeinated coffee is far from being completely caffeine free. Containing from 2 to 12 mg, a cup of decaf can reduce the quality of your sleep.
Coffee lovers will have to take another look at their addictive habit. Sleep is vital to excellent longterm health. If you know you should be sleeping more, making changes to your caffeine intake is crucial to your wellbeing.
Soothing tea only
Did you know that tea has caffeine? Black tea has forty to sixty milligrams of caffeine per cup. Green tea contains 15 mg per cup. Similarly, white tea and red tea contain caffeine. Fortunately for tea lovers, pure herbal tea does not contain any. Be aware that by tradition, jasmine tea always contains some black tea. Reading the labels of tea blends is pertinent. That hot cuppa before bed may not be a good idea after all!
Furthermore, although manufacturers use fermentation to produce health drinks, check the base ingredient. Kombucha is made from tea!
Beware of snack bars
What may take you by surprise is that snack bars can contain up to 30 mg of caffeine per bar. This is more than a can of coke, so read the label to be sure. Regard with scepticism any bar that has the word energy in the title. Some energy bars have incredibly high quantities of caffeine. Your sleep quality will suffer when you eat when one of these to deal with late afternoon energy slumps.
Coke has 32 mg in every 335 ml can. Diet coke is even more addictive with 42 mg in the same size can. Other cold drinks may contain less or none at all. The best thing to do is to read the label. Coke is high on the list of drinks to avoid if you want to sleep well.
Chocolate is made from the cocoa bean. These beans contain high amounts of caffeine. The stronger the taste, the more cocoa powder your chocolate has. The USDA National Nutrient Database carries out research on different foods. They state that a bar of 162 g can have as much as 70 mg of caffeine. That is a higher concentration than any cold drink! In addition, cocoa beans contain theobromine, another stimulant. Think again before you enjoy a bit of chocolate while you read in bed at night.
Scream for ice-cream no more
Ice-cream lovers beware! Not only is your favourite post-dinner indulgence laden with sugar, but it can also contain caffeine. Flavours to watch out for are naturally coffee or chocolate. These contain from 10 to 45 mg per small serving. The stronger the flavour, the more caffeine there is. Ice-cream is therefore not the best thing to eat for dessert at night. Choose a healthy desert and enjoy the benefits of a wonderful sleep.
Some brands of water contain high quantities of caffeine. Manufacturers sometimes use guarana in flavoured waters. Guarana has double the caffeine of coffee beans. There can be up to 125 mg of caffeine in a bottle. You may as well have two shots of espresso. Certainly not the ideal drink to have if you wish to improve your nightly slumbers.
How much caffeine is ok?
Caffeine is tremendously addictive. Although it is socially acceptable, it is still a drug. Researchers prove that reliance on caffeine evolves rapidly, even with a low dose. Limiting yourself does not make a difference. Small amounts of caffeine daily over a short period still leads to dependence.
People do not take caffeine consumption and its effects seriously enough. Addiction to caffeine is as dangerous to health as some other addictions. Experiencing symptoms of withdrawal proves that the body is dependent on it. If you need a shot of stimulant to wake up, it is because your body is suffering from withdrawal symptoms. In people dependent on caffeine, drowsiness is a symptom of withdrawal after a night without the stimulating effects.
Signs of withdrawal include headaches, nausea and extreme tiredness. Moreover, symptoms indicate that the organs are ridding themselves of harmful toxins that can damage them. None are conducive to deep slumbers. For better sleep and health, it is best to avoid caffeine.
Why is caffeine still so popular?
Caffeine helps to keep people alert when they are sleep deprived. In a society that is plagued with insomnia, that is an extremely desirable quality. Furthermore, caffeine is often used in combination with sugar. Refined sugar is another highly addictive and stimulating substance. The two together form an irresistible combination for many people.
Caffeine is popular with night-shift workers. Their circadian rhythm is in reverse and they find caffeine helps them adjust. Within fifteen minutes of consuming caffeine, the person experiences a state of stimulation. The effects last almost as long as an entire shift. Over six hours is required for the body to get rid of it. As a result, the deep rest they desperately need is almost impossible.
Caffeine, cognitive performance and insomnia
Many people believe that they can get away with having less sleep regularly. They think their caffeine fix of the day will enhance their performance and productivity. However, research suggests otherwise. Caffeine revives cognitive function only when it is low as a result of sleepiness. Caffeine addiction is the initial cause of daytime sleepiness. Instead, drowsiness is one of the withdrawal symptoms of a body addicted to this chemical. Although caffeine is a stimulant, yet it does not improve normal performance levels. Truthfully, the substance blocks the production of sleep chemicals, leading to sleep deprivation.
The problem with caffeine and sleep
Take it seriously
Many people are aware that caffeine affects sleep quality. However, most do not take caffeine addiction seriously enough and they continue to consume it. With caffeine being in a variety of snacks and liquids, there is a source to suit every taste preference. As a result, it is straightforward to experience regular exposure to the substance. Therefore, caffeine has the highest consumption of all psychoactive substances. Stimulating chemicals have a disastrous impact on the body’s ability to fall asleep and to wake up.
Moreover, an increase of adrenal secretions in those who are addicted to caffeine causes their hands to shake. Users of caffeine often experience anxiety and irritability. These tendencies disturb the peace of mind which people require for restful sleep. Another issue prevalent with the consumption of caffeine is excessive urination. The need to urinate frequently during the night leads to sleep deprivation.
Research and analysis
Various analyses with extremely large groups further illuminate that caffeine causes sleep issues. They show that regular consumption links to a disruption of sleep cycles. Drowsiness in the day is another problem that caffeine triggers.
Further analyses showed that children and teenagers encounter the same issues. Moreover, caffeine is empty of nutrition and suppresses appetite. Consequently, children who consume caffeine may be lacking in nutrition. Improper nutrition hampers the body’s ability to produce hormones that induce sleep.
Furthermore, an EEG study showed that caffeine decreased sleep time by two hours. Subjects took an average of sixty-six minutes to fall asleep. Moreover, wakefulness doubled between sleep cycles. Caffeine decreased the ability to sustain the deepest part of the sleep cycle.
Damage to internal organs:
The risk of chronic insomnia
Caffeine does more than interrupt your sleep. To begin with, it infiltrates your bloodstream, causing immediate stimulation and interfering with sleep-inducing processes. Additionally, the chemical enters your vital organs, potentially leading to chronic issues which impact sleep quality.
Choose a healthy heart
Your heart is one of your most vital organs. The Harvard Medical School website speaks about the negative effects of caffeine on the heart. In the short term, the substance triggers an increase in heart rate. However, there is a risk of developing arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat. With continued use, caffeine promotes high blood pressure. According to the University of Maryland Medical Centre, hypertension increases your vulnerability to strokes and heart disease. Accompanying neurological changes affect the ability to sleep deeply. The resultant increase in insomnia further aggravates the heart. Avoid these unpleasant cycles by eliminating caffeine.
Avoid caffeine, go for a lively liver
The liver has the role of detoxifying the body, filtering beneficial and harmful substances. The Medical News Today website explains that an average consumer of caffeine experiences adverse effects in the liver. Combinations of stomach acid and caffeine produce caffeine hydrochloride. These pass through the liver causing tissue damage, consequently scarring the organ. Scar tissue reduces the ability of the liver to properly carry out its metabolic processes. Disruptions of normal body functions cause sleep issues. Rather consume substances that enhance liver function and increase your vitality. A lively liver functions perfectly, meaning you sleep well.
Your brain is the management centre of hormone production. Caffeine interferes with the vital hormone secretion that your body requires for proper functioning. By triggering the production of adrenalin, it causes you to feel alert. After six hours or longer, the body eliminates the caffeine that you have consumed. Consequently, an extremely emotional, mental and physical low is evident. Your mind is not in an ideal condition for a peaceful sleep when you are feeling excessively drained.
Furthermore, caffeine inhibits the secretion of the calming hormone adenosine leading to an increase in stress. Excess stimulus overtires the body, which reduces the ability to fall asleep. Additionally, studies on rats show that consuming caffeine, elevates cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone. Higher levels of stress aggravate insomnia. Moreover, the constriction of blood vessels interferes with the body’s ability to assimilate nutrients. Inadequate nutrition over the long term impacts the depth of your slumber.
It is safe to conclude that caffeine and sleep are not good bed partners. Consequently, your best option is to avoid such a highly addictive stimulant. Stick to calming, healthy herb teas such as chamomile and rooibos instead. Prevention is better than cure!