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.