Wondering how to sleep like a baby after drinking too much caffeine? Wonder no more because we’re going to share with you practical tips to help you fall asleep easily even after consuming too much caffeine.
Just keep reading.
Lying awake in the bed the whole night staring at the ceiling isn’t a good feeling at all. It’s late at night; you need to wake up early the next day but you aren’t tired at all. So you wonder if you are going to sleep. You start to wonder even more “why can’t I fall asleep?”
Look, part of the reasons you are struggling with sleeplessness could be the food and drinks you consume before bedtime- particularly, foods that contain caffeine. Sleep and caffeine are two fierce enemies. In fact, a poll conducted by Sleep in America, in 2001 suggests that 43% of Americans take caffeinated drinks to stay awake during the day.
Although caffeine is considered a healthy substance when it comes to combatting sleepiness and tiredness, its side effects can be hurtful to your health. But they can be countered
Unfortunately, not all caffeine lovers understand the sources of this substance. In fact, many people think that caffeine is contained in coffee alone although there are many caffeine-inducing foods and drinks out there.
Caffeine and Sleep
If you drink caffeine during or soon before bed, it can take long before you fall asleep. It can even impair your sleep quality.
Don’t get us wrong though because caffeine isn’t a bad substance, especially when taken in moderation (between 250 mg and 400 mg of caffeine a day for adults).
Many people drink coffee late at night without considering the adverse effects it has on the body at that time.
Are you hurting your sleep quality by consuming too much caffeine before bedtime? What should you do if you drink too much caffeine and can’t fall asleep? Can’t sleep because of too much caffeine? Or Is it even possible to sleep after drinking coffee?
As a rule, you shouldn’t take caffeine 6 hours before bedtime.
But if you happen to consume beverages with too much caffeine before you sleep, this article will help you with tips to trick your brain so you can fall asleep.
Read on to discover the tactics to help you fall asleep after drinking caffeine.
We will also share tips to help you quit caffeine if you find that it’s becoming unbearable.
What Is Caffeine?
So you’ve heard about caffeine or even experienced some strange feelings after taking your morning cup of coffee or your favorite chocolate bar. Think about what makes your freshly brewed tea keep your mind awake while studying.
That’s what is called caffeine. Caffeine is a chemical stimulant that makes your brain alert, keeps you energized, and improves your focus. It’s also said to be a psychoactive drug that alters your brain function.
You must have heard people talk about the adverse side effects of taking too much caffeine, but don’t get scared. As mentioned above, if consumed in moderation (The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends limiting caffeine consumption to 400 milligrams a day for adults), it can be useful to your body and mind.
In fact, most people drink caffeine to stay alert especially when they want to stay awake for too long- all-nighters in particular. But look, oftentimes we consume caffeine unknowingly.
Being a natural substance, caffeine is found in many foods and drinks we consume.
Where Is Caffeine Found?
Most people know that caffeine is found in coffee and tea but there are many other products containing this substance. In fact, there are more than 60 natural plant species that produce caffeine.
Apart from coffee and tea (a cup of tea contains 50 – 70mg of caffeine while that of coffee contains 100 – 150mg), other products that contain caffeine include energy drinks (Red Bull, Monster, NOS, and Rockstar), most flavored drinks (Coke, Pepsi, and Mountain Dew), candies, coffee cakes, and many others.
Caffeine is usually consumed by sporty individuals to boost their physical endurance and stimulation.
Milk and dark chocolate are also other products that pack caffeine.
We will talk about all the possible sources of caffeine in our next article.
How Does Caffeine Work?
Caffeine works by altering the brain function or stimulating the central nervous system hence making you active and focused. Caffeine effects can be experienced within 20-45 minutes after consuming it but generally, it will stay in your body for around six hours. It can stay for more than 6 hours though but on average, you can expect caffeine to work its way out of our system within 5 to 7 hours.
You can imagine how much caffeine your body will still have before you sleep assuming you consume 400 mg at mid-day which explains why caffeine affects your sleep quality if not moderated.
How Much is Too Much?
Several factors come into play when it comes to determining how much caffeine is too much for you. They include age, weight, and overall health. Different people have different tolerance levels but for a healthy adult 400-500mg of caffeine, today is recommended. Pregnant women should limit caffeine to less than 200mg and children less than 100gm.
The Effects of Caffeine
Caffeine works by stimulating the body’s central nervous system. On the downside, caffeine is said to raise blood pressure, sleeplessness, heart rate, etc.
Contrary to what people say, caffeine doesn’t energize you but it gives a feeling of an energy boost. That’s why when you take caffeine immediately before you sleep, you stay awake and you don’t feel tired. You must have experienced this feeling after consuming an energy drink.
Caffeine may also cause dehydration. You will lose more water due to the frequent urge to urinate more at night. That’s why coffee experts advise people to drink more water and avoid consuming caffeine too frequently.
Taking caffeine more regularly will result in addiction and quitting caffeine can cause withdrawal symptoms- we will talk about this later in this article but the common caffeine withdrawal symptom is severe headache. Still, caffeine has plenty of benefits given that it’s an antioxidant and science has it that it can help prevent type 2 diabetes, some cancers and heart disease.
How Long Does the Effects of Caffeine Last in the Body?
Having known what caffeine is and the effects it has on the body, let’s find out how long the effects last. To understand this, we must determine how the body processes caffeine.
Usually, caffeine gets into your bloodstream through the lining of the mouth after consuming it. It later gets into the blood through the stomach lining as you swallow it. Within 45 minutes of consuming caffeine, 99% of It will have been absorbed into your body.
In the liver, caffeine is broken down into different chemicals known as theophylline, theobromine, and paraxanthine through the metabolic process. The chemicals are then transported in conjunction with the blood to various organs hence affecting your body functions.
During this time, you will stay alert; feel more energized, and focused. It can take around 5 to 6 hours for your body to clear have of the caffeine.
Now, assuming you consume 100mg of caffeine (a half cup of coffee) at midday, at 5 pm, you will still experience the effects of caffeine that is left in your system (which is around 50mg). That means the more you take caffeine beyond the recommended dose, the longer it will take before your body clears it.
Note that some research suggests it can take up to 27.6 hours for the body to clear caffeine from the system completely. As you can see, this is more than a day.
How Much Caffeine Causes Insomnia?
When taken regularly beyond the recommended dose, caffeine may cause insomnia. On average, coffee aficionados consume about 3 cups of coffee a day. As little as this amount may look, it can affect sleep and it’s even worse for those who drink more than 6 cups of coffee a day.
If you are a coffee addict, you must be struggling with insomnia and worse of all, caffeine will make you feel the urge to urinate frequently; which means you will be disrupting your sleep every time
Can Quitting Caffeine Cause Insomnia
Caffeine consumption can be habit-forming especially for people who can’t go a day without sipping a cup or two of coffee. And the same way smokers feel when they are abstaining from smoking; quitting caffeine comes with multiple effects. We will share practical tips on how to quit caffeine painlessly later in this article.
When you quit caffeine certain changes will take place in the way your blood flows to the whole parts of the body (the brain included). You will start to feel bad headaches.
Cutting out caffeine can also cause anxiety and several other withdrawal symptoms as you will see later in this article. For this reason, you need to be prepared to face some difficult times in a few days before your body adapts to a no-caffeine life.
Does Caffeine Affect Every Person In the Same Way
Usually, after consuming caffeine, most people feel keyed up and alert. It’s worth noting that caffeine doesn’t supply the body with energy but you will feel more energized.
When it’s bedtime, your brain produces the neurotransmitter adenosine. Adenosine (adenosine is the neurotransmitter that signals the brain that the body is tired and in need of rest) then combines with special receptors in nerve cells which then reduce the cell’s activity which is why you feel sleepy.
In the presence of caffeine, the caffeine instead of Adenosine binds the special receptors which increase the cell’s activity. And even though your body doesn’t have more energy at that moment, adenosine can’t send a signal to your never cells about the same, which is why you can’t fall asleep but you will stay alert.
Note that different people are affected by caffeine differently. For instance, researchers have uncovered a gene called CYP1A2 that has two distinctive variants.
People with the 1F allele have a slow caffeine metabolism. As a result, caffeine effects take longer to leave the body. On the other hand, people with 1 allele have a fast caffeine metabolism. You will find that people with this allele can take as much caffeine as they can but they will not feel any effects because their metabolic processes eliminate the caffeine from the body system before it starts to show its effects on them.
Equally, if you are used to taking caffeine regularly, you can become addicted in that you will always need more of it to feel awake and alert.
Younger people aren’t affected by caffeine in the same way as older people.
Signs of Caffeine Overdose
Usually, caffeine stimulates multiple organs in the body and when taken in moderation, caffeine can increase alertness and focus, or boost energy, etc.
Caffeine is also taken as a drug and this means it is possible to take more of it. Don’t worry though; taking too much caffeine isn’t life-threatening although you can expect the following symptoms:
- The urge to urinate frequently
- Sleep deprivation
Why Is Sleep A Necessity?
Sleep is important for every human. Some studies suggest that a person can stay without getting proper sleep for only 11 days; during or after which certain issues will start to come up such as hallucinations, the immune system will go down, and eventually, death.
Just imagine how you feel if you fail to sleep for 8 hours a night. So what would happen if you stay longer or even spend days without getting proper sleep? You might become a strange monster.
So, how important is sleep in our lives?
When you sleep, your body’s repair and rejuvenation processes take place. This way, your essential body systems (nervous system, digestive system, and immune system) are restored and cells are healed.
While sleeping, the body restores the energy spent which makes all your organs healthier and more energized the next day you wake up.
Sleep improves brain function which enhances focus and concentration. Some studies suggest that getting proper sleep can keep depression at bay for many people.
That’s why adults are advised to sleep 7 to 8 hours each night and more than 9 hours for children. This is especially important for children given that their brain is still developing and that’s why at this age, caffeine isn’t recommended for children as it can affect sleep quality. Besides, lack of proper sleep for adults is associated with high blood pressure, stress, obesity, mental illnesses, etc. To stay healthy, you need to get plenty of rest.
Caffeine Interrupts Circadian Rhythm
Apart from inhibiting adenosine receptors, when consumed immediately before bedtime, caffeine can disrupt circadian rhythm.
In a study conducted by MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, in the UK, participants were asked to consume 200 mg of caffeine 3 hours before going to bed. Their circadian sleep pattern was delayed by about 40 minutes. Some participants who were sleeping in bright light areas had their sleep cycle delayed by about 2 hours.
In the end, caffeine effects will not be experienced only during bedtime but also when you wake up the next day.
Why Does Caffeine Interfere With Your Sleep Quality?
Caffeine is a drug that stimulates your body organs leaving you awake and energetic. It inhibits the elements meant to make you feel tired and sleepy. This keeps the hormones from sending signals to your brain even when you’re tired.
Being a stimulant, caffeine makes your brain function fast hence keeping you awake and alert. Your muscles get energized including your gut, legs, and arms. It alters many body processes to adjust the way caffeine works and that’s why your sleep quality is affected.
Can Black Tea Affect Sleep?
We hope up to this far you understand that consuming coffee, energy drinks, and other caffeine-producing products before bedtime isn’t healthy unless you want to stay alert and awake the whole night.
But another culprit could be the cup of black tea you drink before going to bed. Some people must drink a cup of tea before bedtime without noticing that it’s also a source of caffeine.
Dry tea leaves are said to contain more caffeine content (approximately 30mg of caffeine per gram of black tea) than coffee beans (one gram of coffee grounds has approximately 12mg of caffeine).
Besides, when making tea, more water is added to concentrate the taste of the leaves while coffee isn’t diluted with too much water and that’s why a cup of coffee contains too much caffeine content than a cup of tea.
An average cup of tea packs half the caffeine content of a cup of coffee. In fact, the longer you leave your tea to steep the more caffeine is released to the water.
In short, consuming too much tea before bedtime can also affect sleep.
Signs that Caffeine is Affecting Your Sleep
Ideally, one cup of coffee can’t affect your sleep but too much of it does. The same applies to other caffeine-producing products including soda, cocoa, chocolates, tea, energy drinks, etc.
When taken in large doses, caffeine can lead to unhealthy sleeping patterns. Note that it’s not easy to tell whether caffeine is affecting your sleep but watch out for the following signs to know whether it’s the culprit.
If you aren’t falling asleep but you are unsure whether caffeine is the main culprit, look for the following signs:
- You fall asleep but wake up shortly after.
- You toss and turn a lot while you sleep.
- You have to take sleeping pills to fall asleep.
- You have difficulties falling asleep.
- You are always waking up the whole night.
If you experience the above situations, it’s no doubt caffeine is still in your system and is keeping you from falling asleep. You need to moderate your caffeine consumption or cut it out completely.
But I Can Sleep Even After Drinking Too Much Caffeine
Yes, it’s possible to fall asleep even after consuming coffee, but it’s not something to smile about.
Usually, coffee can cause dehydration which ultimately makes you feel tired. In fact, if you are already tired before drinking coffee, you can feel more tired. And the more you feel tired, the more likely you will fall asleep easily. But as mentioned above, dehydration isn’t healthy.
Anything Else Causing Your Sleeplessness?
Having recognized the foods and drinks that contain caffeine, and how to stay away from caffeine before bedtime, it would be easier to sleep well in no time.
Look, you should also have a good sleeping schedule.
But if you are still not getting a good night’s sleep, you could be suffering from insomnia.
Ideally, insomnia isn’t caused solely by too much caffeine. Poor mental health is one of the common causes of insomnia. It’s important to seek medical advice if you think you might be suffering from stress, anxiety, or depression.
Although these conditions can affect your sleep, it’s easy to combat them.
Also, some medications can also affect your sleep. It’s always advised to read the label carefully. Often times, the label will show if the medication affects sleep and for how long.
Consuming alcohol before bedtime can also affect sleep for some people even though it’s relaxing. You may fall asleep even after drinking alcohol, but you can’t get much quality sleep and rest.
Another reason why you are not falling asleep is that you’ve taken sugary or starchy foods before or too close to bedtime. A good rule of thumb is to eat food 3 hours before bedtime.
If all the above doesn’t apply to you, read the bellows and see what’s affecting your sleep.
Other Activities That May Cause Sleeplessness
Don’t always blame caffeine for your sleeplessness unless none of the above and below applies to you.
Often times, some habits could be affecting your sleep.
Here are some of the habits that could be scaring sleep away.
- Not having a routine: Understandably, some days are hectic while others aren’t but because you have some strict deadlines to meet doesn’t mean you should change your sleeping habits. Look, your body endure irregular sleep schedule for some time but the more you do it the more likely you will start to see the side effects. If you have trained your body that 9 PM is the time to rest, don’t change that unless circumstances force you to.
- Using electronic gadgets during bedtime: No one can deny you from sending that last sweet message to your beloved ones before you sleep. But the blue light emitted by your electronic devices could scare sleep away.
Can Morning Coffee Affect Sleep?
Even when consumed in the morning, coffee can affect your sleep. We mentioned earlier that the effects of caffeine can take up to two days to go away.
Undeniably, students and many workers rely on caffeine to stay alert when working.
If you can’t skip a day without coffee, it’s better to consume it very early in the morning. Still, you can struggle with sleep even when you consume it very early.
What’s the Best Time to Drink Coffee Before Bedtime?
If you can’t skip the coffee and you want to keep it from affecting your sleep, you need to observe the best time to drink it.
Some people will take a cup of coffee immediately they wake up in the morning since caffeine gives a feeling of alertness but taking coffee after breakfast can have adverse effects on your sleep.
Ideally, you should not drink caffeine 5 to 6 hours before bedtime. So always subtract these hours from your bedtime to know the best time to consume coffee without affecting your sleep.
Best Bedtime Drinks
When you were younger you could get a good night’s sleep after sucking your mother’s breast. This doesn’t change; milk is one of the best bedtime drinks of all times- especially if you get a glass of warm milk.
For lactose-tolerant people, herbal teas are a good alternative. You could also enjoy smoothies together with milk and fruits rich in calcium and magnesium.
Ideally, the best bedtime drinks are those that are hydrating and calming. Sugary drinks aren’t good before bedtime.
Having said all that, how do you sleep after drinking too much caffeine?
Can’t sleep because of too much caffeine?
Find out how to sleep like a kid even after consuming caffeine in our tips below.
Tips for Better Sleep After Drinking Too Much Caffeine
1. Stay Away From Technology
Already you are ‘high’ on caffeine and your eyes can’t seem to close even for a few seconds?
Don’t worry: First things first, switch off that computer or mobile phone or keep it away from reach by your hands. Stay away from your TV as well and keep the room dark.
If possible read a book but make sure the light is low and listen to some soothing music.
Don’t check your Facebook, Twitter or your emails. The more you keep scrolling the more your urge to find out more keeps on growing. Before you realize it, it’s already 4 AM and you’ve not slept. Keep your bedroom cool.
2. Do Some Light Exercises
So you feel wired, energized, and alert? Why not utilize the energy in some exercises that can make you feel tired and sleep?
Don’t do vigorous exercises before bedtime though but you can go swimming or take a casual walk.
Go to the gym and lift a few weights.
Note that exercise can even keep you from sleeping so keep it light.
The National Sleep Foundation also recommends relaxing the muscles.
Usually, caffeine makes your body and mind nervous and alert. And if you can relax, you can counter these feelings.
Try to sit and enjoy the comfort of the bed and the fabric around you.
Try to meditate while focusing on your breath and the sensation in your body.
When you relax your muscles, you relieve your mind and body from stress.
Your mind will start to focus on the present moment so you can stop worrying about the day ahead.
3. Take a Cup of Warm Milk
Drink a cup of warm milk. Milk is said to produce melatonin in your brain, a compound that lulls you so you can fall asleep easily.
Kick sugary foods because they will give you more energy. Take foods rich in carbs or drink some porridge.
Carbohydrates stimulate the production of sleep-inducing compounds in your body. Don’t overeat before bedtime though.
Ideally, you need to do all these things in moderation. Drink enough water as well.
4. Counter the Caffeine
Taken too much caffeine? Don’t worry, even though you can’t remove it completely from your body at that moment, you can counter its effects by drinking more water to speed up the metabolism process.
In fact, drink more water if you feel dehydrated. Remember that caffeine can lower the speed of absorption of some vitamins and minerals and also increase their excretion from the body. Eat oranges, strawberries and other fruits rich in Vitamin C.
5. Attempt not to Sleep Instead
Sleeplessness isn’t a good feeling at all. You try to close your eyes, but shock on you, you find them wide open. You feel agitated and sleep goes away.
If you can’t sleep, try not to sleep instead.
This is what people call Paradoxical Intention and can work. Instead of struggling to sleep, try not to close your eyes instead.
Now that you have shifted your brain from focusing on your inability to sleep, you will likely start to feel bored by the fact that you aren’t sleeping. This way, you will find yourself dreaming without knowing.
How to Avoid Struggling With Sleeplessness in The Future
Just because you’ve taken too much caffeine doesn’t mean that you can’t control that in the future lest you find yourself repeating the same mistake.
Although the best way to prevent yourself from sleeplessness is to avoid taking caffeine, it may not be easy for caffeine-reliant people to cut it away.
It is said that “prevention is better than cure”, and when it comes to preventing of future incidences of sleeplessness you need to:
- Avoid consuming caffeine in the afternoon: Don’t make a mistake to think that limiting coffee in the afternoon is the only solution. Cut back every caffeine-producing products including some teas, soda, energy drinks, etc.
- Mind the foods and drinks you take during the day: We mentioned that caffeine stays for almost two days before it’s completely excreted from the body and we have also said that you should avoid consuming it 5-6 hours before bedtime. But look, some of the foods and drinks you consume throughout the day could have more caffeine than coffee.
Women on birth control pills or those who between ovulation will experience the effects of caffeine for too long because their bodies take longer to process the substance. It’s important to take note of this when consuming caffeine during the day as well.
So Caffeine is affecting Your Sleep, What Next?
If you are struggling with sleeplessness, caffeine could be one of the culprits. We stated earlier that caffeine effects can be experienced for too long. That means even if the buzz has faded away, your sleeplessness could be caused by the caffeine you consumed before bedtime.
A good step toward uncovering what could be affecting your sleep is to look at your habits.
Take a look at the foods and drinks you consume after lunch to see whether they contain caffeine.
The foods and drinks to look into include candies, coffee, coffee-flavored foods, chocolate, chocolate-flavored foods and drinks, energy and protein bars, black, green, and white tea, etc.
While not all product labels will indicate the caffeine content in a product, make sure you check the package thoroughly or contact the producer.
Look into any medications (pain-killing and migraine medications) you are taking. Try to stay away from medications that contain caffeine after 2 PM.
Assuming, you have realized that caffeine is the core culprit for your sleeplessness what should you do?
You either limit yourself from taking too much of it or before bedtime or quit caffeine.
But look, withdrawing from caffeine is easier said than done.
Have you ever tried to cancel your Netflix account? It’s no easy thing to do! But don’t worry we will show you how to quit caffeine without a problem.
How to Quit Caffeine the Easy Way
Although it provides us with too many benefits, drinking too much caffeine can be detrimental to our health.
Quitting caffeine is also not easy.
How Long Does It Take To Quit Caffeine?
It’s worth noting that getting caffeine out of your system after consuming too much of it is different from quitting caffeine.
Like any other drug, quitting caffeine is a commitment and you need to have a workable plan. You also need to be prepared for the caffeine withdrawal symptoms.
Different people will experience withdrawal symptoms of caffeine differently.
Note that even after you’ve quit caffeine completely, you will still feel withdrawal symptoms at some point. And this is especially true for caffeine addicts.
Here are some tips on how to quit caffeine painlessly.
1. Think of the Benefits of Quitting Caffeine
Although caffeine is healthy when taken in moderation, drinking more than 3 caffeine-producing drinks each day isn’t healthy. In fact, drinking too much caffeine can cause serious health problems.
Think about health problems:
- Causes anxiety
- Increased hypertension risk.
- Impairs sleep quality.
- Causes dehydration.
Say it to yourself “So if I quit, I will save myself from all the above-mentioned problems and many others”. If you think about this, it would be easier to stop caffeine consumption.
2. Quit Gradually
Caffeine withdrawal symptoms aren’t friendly at all- bad headaches, brain fro, and fatigue are just a few. It’s, therefore, important to quit caffeine gradually.
If you are a regular caffeine drinker, try to decaf it, then keep on mixing more decaf or even swap regular coffee for a late.
3. Take Alternative Beverages
If you can’t go a day without consuming caffeinated products, try replacing with an alternative beverage. For instance, when you feel the urge to drink caffeine, drink more water instead. Try drinking green tea or fruit infused water and other caffeinated beverages.
4. Change Your Sources of Caffeine
Assuming you have been consuming coffee regularly, you could consume energy drinks instead.
5. Understand the Hidden Sources of Caffeine
Many people think that coffee is the only common source of caffeine. Well, coffee packs more caffeine compared to other products but there are other sources of caffeine you may not know.
Make sure you understand all the sources of caffeine and start quitting them slowly.
6. Find Someone to Quit Caffeine With
Sometime it might not be easy to go it alone. Find someone to travel the journey with. If you can’t find a caffeine-quitting partner, make it a promise that you will quit caffeine. This will keep you from quitting because that means you will have broken your promise. Make this promise to someone you respect.
7. Prepare Yourself for Withdrawal Symptoms
Depending on the amount of caffeine you are used to consuming, quitting caffeine can cause serious to mild withdrawal symptoms.
Here are just a few of the caffeine withdrawal symptoms you can expect to experience. Don’t worry though; they take a few days to fade away after you have stopped drinking caffeine.
- Mood changes
- Cognitive effects
Is Caffeine Good For You?
Although drinking too much caffeine is associated with certain problems such as anxiety, tremors, insomnia, restlessness, etc., consuming it in moderation increases metabolism, improves asthma control, lowers the risk of neurodegenerative diseases, etc.
Caffeine is used as a psychoactive substance worldwide. Reports show that caffeine is the second most enjoyed drink after water. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system although even when taken in smaller doses can cause withdrawal symptoms.
If you aren’t getting enough sleep after drinking too much caffeine, avoid coffee together with other caffeine-inducing products.
If you want to quit caffeine, we hope our tips above will help you.