Is Drinking Coffee at Night Bad for You?

Is Drinking Coffee at Night Bad for You?

Coffee is one of the best beverages to drink during the day because it offers so many benefits but is drinking coffee at night bad for you?

The answer to this question depends on who you ask but the reality is that if you work at night or are studying for school then you need to have a cup of coffee or caffeinated beverage in order to stay awake and alert.

What if you don’t work at night or your late-night study sessions are a thing of the past? In this case, you may want to consider eliminating caffeinated coffee after 8:00 pm. Why? Studies have shown that caffeine stays in our bodies for about 6 hours so if you’re fond of having a late-night coffee, it could be what’s keeping you awake at night when you want to be sleeping.

Learn More About the Effects of Caffeine

Excessive use of caffeine in the daytime has similar effects to caffeine use at night in regards to increase alertness. Staying alert is often important for individuals on night shifts or in jobs that require night driving. A 2006 research study in the “Annals of Internal Medicine” concluded that study subjects using caffeine at night for improved driving, resulted in adequate driver performance compared to individuals experiencing fatigue and no caffeine use while driving. However, the level of alertness and duration of performance varied per individual and dosage of caffeine consumed. Although caffeine consumption can temporarily increase alertness at night, it does not cause sobriety in those intoxicated with alcohol.

Poor Sleep Quality

Insomnia is a side effect of drinking late night caffeinated beverages, especially if more than 500 milligrams is consumed in a 24-hour period. Drinking a caffeinated beverage prior to bedtime will delay sleep onset, as well as alter the normal stages of sleep achieved during the night, according to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. A 1974 study reported in the “British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology” explored sleep disturbance in middle-aged adults after administering 300 milligrams of caffeine at night. Study participants showed increased wakefulness and once sleep occurred, subjects were unable to reach adequate deep sleep stages. Ongoing sleep studies continue to report that caffeine sleep disturbance is dependent upon individual sensitivity and tolerance to the substance, dose, and frequency of use.

Daytime Tiredness

Use of caffeine at night can result in difficulties staying awake during the daytime and hinder cognitive functions. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine indicates that a 2009 study published in “Pediatrics” concluded, adolescents using caffeine through the night tended to suffer from tiredness at school, decreased participation in class and slowed thinking. In addition to lethargy during the day, irritability and mood disturbance can occur from lack of sufficient and deep sleep.

What About Decaf Coffee?

Drinking decaf coffee is an excellent way to limit your caffeine consumption during the day or night because decaf coffee has a very small amount of caffeine so you should be able to consume it without wondering if it’s going to ruin your sleep habits or affect your long-term health.

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