I’ll tell you the answer now: Coffee at night is not a good plan, generally. Do read on though. I’m someone who drinks a cup at night (usually something with milk like a Latte or Mocha, an EACH Mocha) and I’m writing this for one thing, and one thing only: To prove that this habit is not the reason I find it hard to sleep at night.
Is there science behind this? I write these blog posts at night and of course I need a cuppa (or two) by my side. I mean, the blog’s name is shareyourKAPE for god’s sake. I also work pretty late in the day. My work sometimes requires me to have conference calls/meetings at 10pm. I’m also expected to reply to emails ASAP, hence a company smart phone. So I can say I have good reasons to be up late at night. This could be the main reason for me finding it difficult to sleep before midnight each night (even on days I don’t have to work), but I’m also looking to take some of the blame off my beloved coffee.
So, again, drinking coffee late at night or even early on in the evening is not a good idea, generally. To simplify the discussion, caffeine generally will mess up your body’s internal clock. Each of your body’s cells have their own circadian rhythm and physiologically, they start to “wind down” as the sun goes down to prepare for rest. Injesting caffeine at say 7pm (when I started writing this and thus the time I ordered my mug of joe) sort of jolts those said cells, “waking” them up for a few more hours.
So let’s say you do a lot of work during that time (like write two articles for a blog), and you have a long-ass commute home. You think you’ll be so tired you’ll fall asleep immediately when you lay down on your bed. Studies say, again in general, that won’t be the case. Your body, those lovely cells, is now on a mission to keep you awake and will need some time to wind themselves down. The result? You sleep later than you should. If you are someone who needs to wake up early for work, your body does not get the quality, deep sleep it needs. You then feel sluggish during the day, even to the point of hindering cognitive functions. You will be one lethargic mess, and then you need to keep injesting caffeine throughout the day. The worst part, you need to finish something by the day ends and thus you again have to take caffeine late in the day. It’s a vicious cycle. Generally.
I keep stressing that all these are generally true. For the majority of people, all of those things I just wrote are applicable. But not all bodies are the same. Turns out (and thus my little research is a success here), there are some who can drink coffee at night and not suffer through the troubles of sleep deprivation.
I’m neither a scientist nor a doctor, but some people were just born to take caffeine and still feel sleepy a few moments after. It has to something to do with Adenosine buildup in your brain. Adenosine is a neurotransmitter that as it builds up, causes fatigue in your body. Caffeine blocks this but as soon as it wears off, you will once again feel the effect of Adenosine buildup. This is a biological reason.
I have no idea if that’s me, but I do know that I am someone who can “sleep in” in the morning. Remember, I said I have calls/meetings late at night? It’s because I work for a company that works with business partners in other countries, and most which are in Europe and North America. So when someone from my neck of the woods has to wake up at 4am just to be able to steer clear of the crazy rush hour traffic and arrive just on time in the office, I can wake up later and have a shorter travel time. It’s still a pretty long and tiring commute, but it’s at least about 1 or 2 hours less than if I had to actually have to get to work at 9am.
So, in conclusion, I know it’s a messy write-up, but like most articles suggest, it’s important to test how your body reacts to caffeine late at night. In my case, when not in excess, I can most definitely say it’s not the caffeine that keeps me up at night. It’s the constant having to think about work, decisions you have to make, the sudden email from your boss asking for something ASAP without any clear explanation why, those are the things that keep me up. It also helps that I tried not drinking coffee for a week and still found that I couldn’t sleep early during that time.
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Categories: serious Kape