If you’re a coffee lover and drink it in the morning, chances are that you’ve found yourself wondering how to sleep after drinking coffee. It’s not uncommon to feel wide awake when we need to be sleeping so it helps if we know what tips can help us get better sleep.
Coffee contains caffeine which stimulates our nervous system and can also lead people into feeling jittery or restless. For many, the answer is an afternoon nap but for others this isn’t practical especially at work where napping is frowned upon.
There are other solutions such as avoiding caffeine later in the day and getting more exercise instead of sitting around all day long on your phone or computer (though this may be difficult if you have a job like most people
Drink a glass of water before drinking coffee
If you’re having trouble sleeping after drinking coffee, the first thing to do is drink a glass of water. This will help your body rid itself of toxins and keep hydrated especially if you tend to be dehydrated upon waking up.
Try not to drink coffee too late in the day
Even though avoiding caffeine after 2:00pm may seem difficult, it’s best not to have it close to bedtime as this can effect your quality of sleep. Caffeine has a half-life which means that half of the caffeine remains in your body six hours later so by 7 or 8 pm for instance, there is still a lot left over from earlier on.
Eliminating caffeine by early afternoon may result in improved sleep at night but some people may find that after a period of time, they can follow the usual schedule and still sleep well without bad effects.
Drink decaffeinated coffee as an alternative to regular coffee
Decaffeinated coffee is another option as it’s not as stimulating as regular coffee yet still contains many of the benefits such as antioxidants and improved cognitive function. There are other caffeinated drinks which can be substituted for those who need their morning fix but don’t want to suffer from the sleeplessness associated with caffeine. These include: green and white teas, herbal teas and yerba mate tea (note: some herbal teas contain caffeine so check the label first).
Limit your intake to one cup per day
Coffee consumption has many health benefits including antioxidant effects, improved mood and lowered risk of diabetes. There is evidence that drinking around 3-4 cups per day may help to lower the risk of heart disease and stroke however there are also some negative aspects associated with drinking coffee like increased blood pressure (though this should only be temporary), insomnia, anxiety and restlessness.
To avoid these side effects it’s best not to drink more than one cup per day as moderate consumption doesn’t interfere with sleep whereas too much caffeine can cause insomnia, anxiety or other sleep problems usually due to dehydration (caffeine causes us to lose water through our urine). Caffeine consumption has also been linked to headaches so limiting intake may help to prevent a headache from occurring later in the day or early evening.
Don’t drink coffee after 3 pm
Coffee contains caffeine which is a stimulant that can interfere with your ability to fall asleep. The half-life of caffeine (the length of time it takes for your body to use up half the caffeine) can vary depending on physical factors such as weight and general health but the average person has around 3-5 hours before they are left with 25% of their daily caffeine intake. Caffeine’s effects last longer in some people so don’t be discouraged if you feel jittery after drinking coffee late in the day, this feeling should wear off eventually.
Avoid sugary drinks with caffeine, like soda or energy drinks
There are many beverages which contain caffeine including soda, energy drinks and even soft drinks. Caffeine can be found in chocolate as well although it has less caffeine than coffee, tea or soda.
Many people drink caffeinated beverages to fight off tiredness but sugary caffeinated drinks can cause energy to plummet later on or contribute to weight gain if you find yourself exceeding your daily limit of calories. If you tend to have trouble sleeping after drinking coffee at night, avoid the aforementioned beverages too.
Avoid having a nap before bedtime
Napping is an excellent way to re-energise oneself during the day but napping too close to bedtime can interfere with sleep quality. If possible try not to have a nap until early afternoon or evening. You can read How To Avoid Sleep Deprivation for more on the effects of napping and the importance of sleeping enough each night.
Avoid having caffeine within four hours of bedtime
The primary symptom which prevents people from falling asleep after drinking coffee is restlessness, closely followed by insomnia. If you find yourself tossing and turning in bed several hours after your last cup it’s best to avoid consuming any caffeinated beverages until early morning.
If you feel drowsy earlier than usual this could indicate that you are not getting enough sleep so try to relax and keep your eyes closed if possible instead of worrying about sleeplessness. Relaxation techniques such as meditation may help to improve sleep too but remember to stay away from caffeinated beverages until early morning.
Eat breakfast – it will help you feel more awake and less tired during the day
Eating can give us energy which is why many people feel less tired when they eat breakfast, the exact mechanism is unclear but eating something in the morning is certainly more effective than fasting all day. If you’re having trouble sleeping after drinking coffee at night it’s best to avoid fasting for several hours before bedtime and make sure that your last meal of the day isn’t too close to bedtime. How To Improve Your Memory For Exams contains advice on how eating throughout the day can improve memory recall and make studying easier.
Get enough sleep – 7-8 hours is recommended for adults
Sleep deprivation can have a serious effect on your mood, focus and ability to learn. Sleep disruption is one of the most common symptoms of insomnia so if you’re having trouble sleeping after drinking coffee it’s important that you try to fall asleep as soon as possible. How To Fall Asleep Quickly contains advice on getting better rest in less time including how to create a relaxing environment conducive to falling asleep quickly.
How To Stay Awake At Night can also help if your mind feels alert despite being exhausted from a lack of sleep. Avoid distractions in the bedroom such as a TV or work and instead spend thirty minutes reading something light or listening to calming music before trying to sleep again.
Source image: Francisco Alvarez Bao on Flickr