Does Caffeine Keep You Awake?

Does Caffeine Keep You Awake?With Tim Horton’s Roll Up the Rim to Win! promotion going on, I find myself drinking more coffee than I usually do. I’m not sure exactly why, when at the very most I only win a free coffee and never anything more, but at least I get a coffee out of the deal which is more than I can say for buying a lottery ticket.

Recently, about six hours before going to bed, I purchased an extra large coffee from Tim Hortons. Only when I sat down at the computer and took that first sip from the coffee did I start wondering whether the caffeine would keep me from falling asleep.

People usually drink coffee in the morning as part of their daily routines and they tend to avoid it at night. The caffeine in coffee is a stimulant and affects the central nervous system, heart, muscles, and blood pressure, though the effects of caffeine could be reduced greatly depending on how much caffeine a person typically consumes. I know that if I go without it for a long while and then introduce caffeine back into my body, I’ll get shaky hands and an uncomfortable jittery feeling.

Because caffeine’s a stimulant, many people use it in the morning and throughout the day to keep them awake and feeling alert. They will also avoid consuming it later in the day and evening as they believe it will keep them awake. But is this true? Will the caffeine in coffee prevent you from sleeping well?

One of the effects of caffeine–and the reason why so many people start their day with a cup–is the blocking of chemicals in the brain that make you sleepy. The effects of caffeine will take about six hours for half of the caffeine you consume to disappear. This means that coffee I drank about six hours before bed will take twelve hours for its caffeine to fully leave my body.

Fortunately, I find that within a few hours, whatever jolt I got from coffee begins to dissipate and that by the time my bedtime rolls around, I’m ready to hit the proverbial hay and get some shuteye. I typically can sleep just fine without any side effects from the coffee I had six hours earlier. The only times I find that I can’t sleep is when I’m focused on not sleeping, watching the clock, and worrying about getting as much sleep as I can.

The truth is though, caffeine affects everyone a little differently. If you’re not used to consuming caffeine regularly via coffee or an energy drink, it’s best to avoid it six to twelve hours before bed or you’ll risk losing sleep. If you’re a caffeine fiend, you’re likely more adjusted to it and will be able to sleep just as well as you would had you not had any caffeine so close to your bedtime.

How to Quit Drinking Coffee

How to Quit Drinking CoffeeDid you know that caffeine is the most widely used drug on earth? It’s not that hard to believe when you consider how many coffee shops there are and how many people rely on them to help start their day. I’ll admit that for a long time I too would grab a coffee on my way to work, but I’ve managed to kick that habit and have felt a lot better because of it. Sure, it could be because I’ve substituted coffee from Starbucks and similar chains with Bulletproof Coffee, but also because I’ve found other ways to get energy during the day.

Caffeine addiction is real and so are its withdrawal symptoms. During the time when I first quit drinking coffee, I would experience serious headaches and cravings for that morning cup of Joe. I quit smoking cigarettes many years ago, but found quitting coffee to be much harder. I admittedly would break down and buy a coffee occasionally and always got a serious case of the jitters that made me severely uncomfortable for a long while.

Now that I’m free from traditional coffee (I don’t lump Bulletproof Upgraded Coffee in with the rest) I have found other ways to gain energy throughout the day rather than relying on coffee after coffee. One of the best ways is to eat a good breakfast. If your stomach is full with cereal, fruit, and juice, you’ll be less likely to crave coffee and you’ll have energy to keep you awake. Make sure you snack on healthy foods throughout the day and eat a good lunch to keep your energy levels up. Avoid sugary treats as they can boost your energy temporarily, but you’ll come crashing down later.

Another reason I was relying on coffee so much is because I wasn’t sleeping enough. I’m sure that most other people out there find that they don’t have enough time to do everything that they need to do. But spreading yourself so thin at the cost of sleep is never a good idea. Shut down the computer and the television at a decent hour and get a solid seven or eight hours of sleep. You’ll feel better in the morning and will be less likely to crave coffee.

Finally, I found that working out improved my overall energy levels. It seems like a catch 22 doesn’t it? Exercising makes me feel alive and energized, but at the beginning I would often feel too tired to exercise. After a week or two of forcing myself to workout, I found that my energy levels increased and I wasn’t as groggy during the day.

As I said, I no longer drink traditional coffee, but I do indulge in Bulletproof Coffee as it’s delicious and doesn’t give me the side effects that I used to get. That being said, there was a period of time when I didn’t drink coffee at all, and the above tips helped me to kick the habit. Hopefully they can help you too lose a bad habit and pick up a few good ones along the way.