Although caffeine can affect us different ways, tea and coffee are a part of British culture. Whether it’s popping the kettle on when you arrive at work or visiting a friend for a chinwag – no time is a bad time for a cuppa. (Is that the kettle we hear boiling?)
Truthfully, the majority of us would struggle to function if it were not for our morning teas and coffees. But how does caffeine actually work, and how does it affect our sleep patterns?
How Does Caffeine Affect Sleep?
Now the science part states that caffeine stimulates your body’s central nervous system, increasing alertness and reducing fatigue (thank you, liquid gods). Once ingested, caffeine takes effect within 15 to 20 minutes, and half of that caffeine can remain in your system for can last for six or more hours….. suddenly those nights where it was difficult to get to sleep are making sense.
Although caffeinated drinks are both delicious and convenient to give us that little boost, we need to get through the next meeting, it can have a negative effect on our sleep patterns and quality. Our internal clock, also known as our cardiac rhythm, can fall victim to the bad side of caffeine. (We don’t mean it coffee, we love you)
Drinking caffeine can mess with our cardiac rhythm and disrupt our wake-sleep cycle, causing us to have difficulties falling asleep and disturbing our sleep altogether, with some more serious cases resulting in what is known as a caffeine-induced sleep disorder.
Even though caffeine can help boost performance, it should not be used as a substitute for a bad night’s sleep. In order to avoid disturbed sleep caused by caffeine, we recommend cutting the cord on caffeine a minimum of six hours before bedtime.
Ironically, the reason we drink caffeinated drinks is to stay awake, so if they are the reason for our tiredness, then it would seem obvious to break the vicious cycle altogether?
Now we’re not saying to give up your favourite hot or cold beverage (We could never, coffee is life) but next time you need a kick, try swapping your tea or coffee for a green tea or hot lemon and honey before bed to ensure a restful night’s sleep.