effects of coffee on sleep

What are the effects of coffee on sleep?

Essential at breakfast and throughout the day in between busy routines, coffee attracts crowds. But what are the effects of coffee on sleep? Are there consumption habits that do not interfere in the discount?

A recent study in the journal “Science Translational Medicine” concluded that, in addition to its euphoric properties, coffee consumed at night can disturb sleep depending on personal resistance to caffeine.

After all, should I stop consuming caffeine because of its sleep-damaging action? We will talk about this below, but don’t worry, you have to take some precautions, but you don’t have to deprive yourself of the consumption of this beverage.

What is the interaction between coffee and sleep?

If you usually feel more energetic after coffee, you might imagine that this is because of the effect of caffeine, but this is not so. In fact, coffee doesn’t give you more energy, it prevents your body from reading fatigue.

Your hormones are in constant activity, and during your day they are even more agitated. This agitation causes the production of adenosine, a substance that the nervous system identifies and controls levels of.

The adenosine receptors, present in the nervous system, detect when they reach a certain level in the brain and emit a chemical signal that causes the body to slowly shut down, causing sluggishness, decreased productivity, and yawning.

Caffeine, as a compound produced by plants, has a chemical structure similar to that of adenosine. This similarity confuses the receptors in the nervous system, causing caffeine to bind to them and work to fulfill the role of adenosine.

This confusion doesn’t allow your brain to take the correct reading of fatigue, so you stay awake and willing. Biochemically, coffee operates like a secret agent in our body, acting like another chemical matter.

The average amount of caffeine ingested by most coffee lovers on a daily basis is enough to confront up to 50% of the receptors, an action that makes us more alert, fights fatigue, prolongs alertness, and reduces the degree of sleep.

Since sleep is essential for health (due to the functions performed in the body during this period) and quality of life, the cycles of sleep and wakefulness are regulated by a harmony present between homeostatic and circadian processes.

The homeostatic need for sleep accumulates during the day and dissipates while we sleep, while the circadian clock determines the time when we fall asleep.

Is it bad to drink coffee every day?

Drinking large amounts of coffee with the intention of turning sleepless nights is harmful to health, because it alters the natural cycle of our day. Therefore, the concern should be with the amount of coffee ingested during short periods, not just its daily use.

During a research conducted by the Department of Medicine at the University of Chicago, they realized that not getting the necessary sleep is something harmful, even though it is common in many routines.

In the article, scientists explain that only during sleep, several essential processes occur, such as: hormone release, glucose regulation, and cardiovascular regulation. When we don’t get enough sleep, the chances of developing diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity and heart problems can increase.

Other researches, such as the Oregon State University and the Canadian Bureau of Chemical Safety, show that the consumption of 3 to 4 cups of coffee (300 mg of caffeine) daily is safe and beneficial for most adults.

If you do not have medical restrictions on caffeine consumption due to some health condition, the condition is to maintain a regulated sleep and a balanced consumption.

Some groups should beware of caffeine consumption, such as: pregnant women, children, the elderly, and people with some sensitivity to the substance.

Caffeine and Sleep Phases

Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep and slow-wave sleep, often referred to as deep sleep, are critical phases of our sleep cycle. However, individuals sensitive to caffeine might find their sleep quality compromised after even a modest dose of caffeine.

Consuming beverages or foods with high caffeine content can reduce the total sleep time, especially by shortening the duration of the deep sleep stage. It’s crucial to monitor one’s caffeine intake, as it can notably affect sleep, particularly if consumed closer to bedtime. Those aiming for uninterrupted REM and slow-wave sleep should be particularly mindful of the caffeine content in their diet.

What are the benefits of coffee?

As a common habit, coffee not only serves to bring energy, but also has nutritional benefits for our body. With a high concentration of polyphenols – antioxidants that prevent or reduce the action of free radicals – this substance has properties that contribute to the prevention of diseases and promote well-being.

Due to its quick effect, caffeine supplementation is a form of consumption for those who do not like coffee as a beverage, or for those who want to take full advantage of its benefits.

If you like coffee, but suffer from its interaction with sleep, know that there are solutions to consume and maintain your health during your resting hours.

How to drink coffee and sleep well?

When you ingest caffeine – present both in coffee and in other foods such as chocolate and energy drinks – your body reacts by affecting 3 aspects of sleep:

  • Cycle (time);
  • Efficiency;
  • Satisfaction.

So when you choose to keep drinking coffee at times close to bedtime, it can affect how good your sleep will be. Follow the tips below to clear your sleep and get optimal rest time:

  • Consumption should be in a healthy way, without exaggeration;
  • Having a set bedtime can help;
  • Make sure that your room is a pleasant environment, without screens on or loud, annoying sounds;
  • Avoid eating or exercising in the few hours before bedtime;
  • Avoid alcohol near bedtime;
  • Take supplements that aid sleep, such as Ashwagandha, Glycine, Melatonin, Valerian, and PEA.

By maintaining healthy habits, it is possible to drink coffee and sleep well, just avoid exaggeration to enjoy the best of both worlds.

Keyla Ketlyn
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