A good cup of joe can remedy many things, but most commonly, it’s the trusted snooze-stopping solution.
Too much of something, however, has its downsides. In the case of caffeine, frequent consumption can lead to developing a tolerance, which means withdrawal can result in headaches and irritability. Another side effect, which we know all too well, is how it hinders your sleep quality, especially if consumed too late. But just how late is too late?
According to a study conducted by the Sleep Disorders & Research Center at Henry Ford Hospital and Wayne State College of Medicine, people should generally be avoiding caffeine six to eight hours before bed.
The study’s participants consumed coffee at zero, three, and six hours before bedtime and the results showed that coffee consumption six hours before bedtime affects sleep quality by over an hour. One interesting note was that while the study’s participants reported that they didn’t feel the stimulating effects of caffeine in their bodies, the sleep monitor tracking their sleep quality reported differently. Even when they experimented with consuming caffeine close to bedtime (zero to three hours before), it was actually the caffeine consumed six hours prior that was disrupting their slumber.
Don’t fret though, because there are ways for you to enjoy your caffeine and sleep too!
Set a 2 p.m. cut off
Caffeine can still affect your sleep even if you’re yawning. Putting a cap on your consumption earlier on in the day will allow you to rest better at night.
Max out at four cups
Adults should be consuming no more than 400 mg of caffeine a day, which roughly equates to four cups of coffee. Depending on whether you’re a soda or energy drink type, the amount will vary since caffeine levels are different in both.
The soothing aroma of coffee works wonders in invigorating the senses when you’re groggy and bleary-eyed, but generally, reward yourself with a coffee when you actually need it and wean off of it as the day progresses. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, aim for to avoid it 10-12 hours prior to bed, or opt for decaf.