According to a new small study, the late-afternoon caffeine boost that many people rely on to get them through the day may be wrecking their sleep. Caffeine may have an impact on your sleep even if you stop consuming it 6 hours before your bedtime.
The four-study included 12 healthy people with normal sleep patterns. The participants were instructed to maintain normal sleep schedules while taking 3 pills: one at 6 hours before bedtime, one at 3 hours before bedtime and the last one right before bedtime.
During the first three days, 2 of the pills were placebo pills and only 1 contained 400 milligrams worth of caffeine, the equivalent of 2-3 cups of coffee. This allowed the researchers to see the affect of caffeine consumption 6 hours before bed, 3 hours before and right before bed. On the fourth day, all of three of the pills were placebo pills with no traces of caffeine.
Sleep was monitored with an in-home sleep monitor and all of the participants maintained a sleep diary.
No matter what time the caffeine pill was taken, sleep was impaired for all of the participants. For example, taking the caffeine pill 6 hours before bedtime resulted in less sleep, a loss of more than an hour for that night.
Sleep loss experienced over multiple nights can have harmful effects on daytime function. The research authors suggest that people stop consuming caffeine at least by 5pm, especially avoiding premium coffees and energy drinks which contain moderate-large doses of caffeine.
Getting through the day with less caffeine may seem impossible for some, but it can be done. A good place to start is to evaluate how you are sleeping at night.Find out what people who well-rested are doing to sleep better and have more energy throughout the day here!