How Late Is Too Late For Coffee?
When you drink coffee, the caffeine has to first be distasted, then metabolized. That takes about 50 minutes. Caffeine can stay in your system for 6-12 hours. So add that 50 minutes to whatever mental calculations you are making about an expected bedtime.
How many hours you need to stop consuming caffeine before bedtime will depend on how sensitive (or addicted) to caffeine you are.
For some people a single cup of coffee can fuel them all day. Others need several cups to fuel their ambitions throughout the day. Some people can even fall asleep after drinking coffee.
The Power Nap: Drinking Coffee Before Sleep
It’s called a power nap. I’ve written about this before. Caffeine can allow you to sleep briefly (usually 15-30 minutes) before you wake up somewhat rested and ready to go again.
Can Coffee Help You Sleep?
Even though a power nap can help you sleep, it is not the same are true rest. There have been numerous studies that prove that caffeine WILL interfere with regenerative sleep patterns.
Ever wake up feeling exhausted? That means the sleep you got didn’t help you really rest and recover from the previous day’s exertions. It’s common when you drink too much caffeine.
Why Is It Bad To Drink Coffee At Night?
The link between poor quality sleep and poor daytime performance is well documented.
Caffeine interrupts sleep.
Interrupted sleep interferes with daytime performance.
Caffeine helps improve performance.
But caffeine interrupts sleep.
It’s the cycle of caffeine addiction and it will wear you out.
Coffee Late At Night / Coffee Early In The Morning
One study provided 12 young adult males with caffeine for 11 days and nights. They found that subjects quickly suffered sleep disruptions (trouble falling asleep, trouble staying asleep). But even more importantly, they were not able to catch up on lost sleep after the extra caffeine was withdrawn and the study ended on day 12.
The sleep debt seemed to remain. That kind of sleep debt will trigger a desire to more caffeine to overcome that sleep debt. Similar studies confirm this with caffeine being identified as the reason for sleep that was non-restorative and did not allow people to wake feeling rested.
While the studies did not track caffeine withdrawal symptoms, it can only be assumed from their inability to resume regular sleep patterns, that caffeine dependence had also been triggered.
Once you start abusing caffeine by consuming too much, cutting back won’t immediately reset your body’s cravings for caffeine.
That’s why you see long lines at coffee shops. It’s not love of coffee. It’s needing coffee to just feel “normal”.
Reducing Caffeine Can Be Easy
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Quitting caffeine does not have to mean suffering through headaches, feeling irritable, or moody.
It doesn’t even have to mean giving up coffee!
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