Caffeine is an alkaloid, an organic substance found in plants which have powerful physiological effects. Caffeine is also a powerful psychoactive substance which affects the central nervous system and sleep(1). Caffeine is most commonly found in cocoa beans, tea leaves, kola nuts (“Cola”), coffee beans and the superfood guarana berries. It is an additive in various medications for pain relief, diet pills and cold/flu remedies. Energy drinks are an increasingly popular source of caffeine as are chocolate bars, the highest percentage being found in dark chocolate.
How much caffeine do you consume?
How does caffeine affect sleep?
Research reveals that caffeine delays falling asleep, reduces total sleep time and results in a worsened perception of having slept well. Older adults are more sensitive to caffeine compared to younger adults, (2) and concluded that a lifetime consumption of caffeine results in an accumulation of caffeine in the pineal gland in the brain, reducing the production of the sleep hormone, Melatonin(3). Further, the action of caffeine in the brain inhibits production of the slumber enzyme – adenosine – which prepares you for sleep, and the later in the day you consume caffeine, the longer that process will continue. This explains why people can’t ‘switch off’ when consuming caffeine throughout the day. 4 Example: if a cup of Americano coffee requires 7-10 hours for the body to process and clear just 50% of that dose of caffeine, imagine how long 4 or 5 doses of caffeine per day will last in your body…
What is a safe amount of caffeine?
Researchers have concluded that 400mg of caffeine per day is safe for adults. For pregnant women, this reduces to 300mg per day. However, the disturbing evidence around the harmful and potentially addictive effects of caffeine in children is also stated. 5 So, although caffeine is judged to be safe, if you’re having problems sleeping, the single most important substance you can quit is caffeine. Switch to decaff or better still, no caff. Try the vast array of herbal teas by Pukka, Neal’s Yard or Clipper, drink plenty of filtered water – at room temperate – and still vs sparkling. And for those of you that are parents, it is recommended that you wean your child off of caffeinated drinks.
Water consumption will help with the inevitable withdrawal symptoms which may be quite uncomfortable for those with a high caffeine consumption. If you’re struggling, Sleepability can facilitate that process with natural remedies to support your nervous system and liver.
Contact me today and learn to sleep again, naturally. Because sleep matters.
1 O’Callaghan et al, 2018: ‘Effects of caffeine on sleep and daytime functioning’ https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30573997/
2 Clark and Landolt, 2016: ‘Coffee, Caffeine and sleep: a systematic review of epidemiological studies and randomized
controlled trials’ – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26899133/
3 Park et al, 2018: ‘Lifetime coffee consumption, pineal gland volume and sleep quality in later life’ –
4 Walker, Matthew, 2018: ‘Why We Sleep’ – Penguin Random House (ISBN: 978-0-141-98376-9)
5 Wikoff et al, 2017: ‘Potential adverse effects of caffeine consumption in healthy adults, pregnant women, adolescents and
children’ – https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691517301709
Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee: https://www.coffeeandhealth.org/topic-overview/sources-of-caffeine/