Most of us love that cup of java in the morning…and some of us continue to love it throughout the day. But if you want to fall asleep, when should you stop? Well, it depends on a few factors, and we’ll explore those factors as well as some other need-to-knows about caffeine.
Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant and the most widely consumed psychoactive drug. Yes, caffeine is a drug (you druggies), I think we forget that sometimes. A psychoactive drug is a chemical substance that changes brain function and results in alterations in perception, mood, or consciousness. In non-nerd terms, caffeine makes us not sleepy. If you want to get super technical about how that happens, see what the National Sleep Foundation says about Caffeine and Sleep.
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Sources of Caffeine
Most prominently, caffeine is contained in coffee and coffee based beverages, but it’s also found in several other consumables that you may not be aware of. Did you know that the FDA does not require caffeine to be listed on nutritional information labels? Kinda lame, but true, so caffeine may just be hidden where you’d never expected it.
Here are some common (and not so common) sources of caffeine:
Decaf Coffee: Right? You’d think it has no caffeine but decafs may contain caffeine, and could contain up to 1/5 the amount of caffeine that you find in regular coffee.
Non-Cola Soda: Colas and their amped up friend Mt. Dew are well known for their caffeine content but there are several other types of sodas that may contain caffeine such as root beer, orange, and cream sodas.
Chocolate: I think we all know about this one (and love it). Hot cocoa? Yes, caffeine.
Ice-Cream: Chocolate or Coffee flavored ice cream? Caffeine! (duh).
Weight loss pills: Many of the waistline reducers are known to use caffeine as an appetite suppressant. Why not just eat chocolate instead? Wait…nevermind.
Pain Relievers: A lot of caffeine can cause a headache whereas a little bit can help cure one. Weird, but true, and many of the pain relievers targeted for headache relief will contain caffeine.
Energy Water: The unexpected carrier of the jittery drug. Caffeine is found naturally in Guarana which is often used in flavored energy boosting water products.
Energy boosting products: Basically any product that claims to boost energy may very well contain caffeine. Among some of the popular ones are: energy drinks (of course), breath fresheners, sunflower seeds, and oatmeal. Keep in mind that not all of these types of products contain caffeine, just typically the products that claim to boost energy.
So, When Should I Stop Drinking Caffeine?
Caffeine interrupts the natural flow of melatonin in the body which is the hormone that puts us to sleep. If you really want to get a great nights’ sleep, the general rule would be to stop drinking caffeine 6 hours before bed time which should be enough time for the caffeine to flush out of your system. However, it’s not a perfect science and the amount of time needed to stop caffeine consumption before sleep will differ from person to person.
Caffeine consumption preventing sleep will vary based upon 3 main factors:
• Your metabolism
• The caffeine content of the products you consume
• Your activity level (how much you burn through that caffeine)
Some people may be able to consume caffeine 3 to 4 hours before bed and sleep fine. We certainly don’t recommend testing this theory on a school/work night. Give yourself 6 hours caffeine-free before going to bed and you should be fine. Of course, sleeping on a Layla will improve your ability to get a great nights’ sleep by like 10,000% (percentage not verified). Read for yourself how people are getting a better nights’ sleep on their Layla.