Let's See How's Caffeine and Quality Sleep Related?
Feeling sleepy but has a load of pending stuff? Grab a coffee and get started!
It is a well-known fact that drinking coffee or tea vanishes our sleep but do we really know what's the secret behind it? Well, the credit goes to caffeine!
Caffeine (1,3,7-trimethyl xanthine), widely found in plants like cocoa pods, coffee beans, tea leaves, and kola nuts, is a psychoactive substance used in energy drinks and beverages for its alertness-enhancing and energizing effects.
- Effect on the brain
Caffeine is an 'adenosine receptor antagonist'. Adenosine, a sleep-promoting chemical, is produced by our brain during waking hours. More the adenosine production, the sleepier we feel. Caffeine blocks this process and thus, make us vigilant and keeps us from feeling sleepy. It crosses the blood-brain barrier and gets quickly distributed all over our bodies. It interferes with the circadian rhythm of our bodies and delays sleep if taken close to bedtime.
- Caffeine and quality sleep
Caffeine strongly affects the sleep cycle of humans. There is a well-established relationship between caffeine intake, sleep quality, efficiency, and increased daytime sleepiness. Its effect doesn't only depend upon the amount taken at bedtime, but also on the total intake of caffeine in the whole day.
Slow-wave sleep, a deep and restful sleep that leaves us refreshing the following day, is notably reduced. These effects can even be seen if it is consumed six hours before bedtime. Shorter time sleep, worsening of sleep quality, fatigue, sleep deprivation, and frequent awakenings are some of the prevalent effects of caffeine.
- Severe effects of caffeine
Other than sleeping irregularities, caffeine also has some other severe effects. Pregnancy complications occur due to a high dose of caffeine. At high doses, a person may experience the following side effects- diarrhea, sweating, nausea, increased heart rate, increased breathing rate, and muscle tremors.
Did you ever hear about caffeine addiction? Yes, it's there. A person gets addicted to caffeine if he is taking it on a regular basis for a long period of time. On withdrawal, he may experience symptoms like headache, sleepiness, low energy levels, and bad mood.
- Effects of caffeine abstinence
A whole day of caffeine abstinence can help improve sleep quality and lengthen the duration of sleep. It forms a part of sleep hygiene advice, recommended by doctors. A study shows that the subjects had quite less difficulty falling asleep when they consumed decaffeinated coffee.
- Can caffeine cause insomnia?
Caffeine has its benefits only short-termed, in long run, it may cause insomnia symptoms or even worsen the existing one. Sleep-disordered breathing, the primary characteristic of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), is increased by caffeine from soda and surprisingly not from tea or coffee.
So, if you struggle with day sleepiness, get your caffeine intake checked, especially from caffeinated sodas.
As we just saw, caffeine can be both, beneficial and harmful depending upon its intake. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends a daily intake of 400mg of caffeine i.e., 4-5 cups per day.
If it increases our concentration and alertness, it also causes sleep deprivation and low-quality sleep. So, when you feel yourself losing sleep, just put down your coffee mug and go get some much-needed rest!