Now We Know How Much Caffeine Interferes with Sleep

chemical structure of caffeine

Sleep is complicated. We all know we need it, but many of us don’t get enough. We stay up to late or get p to early, and a lot of people depend on caffeine in order to do either of those things. Well according to a recent study by researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder, ingesting caffeine close to bed time can mess up your circadian clock, the internal system by which your body determines when it should get ready to sleep and when it should get ready to wake up.

Specifically, they performed a 49 day study with five subjects, some of whom were given caffeine pills (about 200mg) and some of whom were given placebo pills. They were also exposed to bright and low light, to see how that impacted their sleep as well. Unsurprisingly, the people who took the caffeine pills took longer to fall asleep, averaging around 40 minutes slower than normal. When the were also trying to sleep in bright light, that time got to as long as 105 minutes. Bear in mind though, even people who were taking placebo pills had their sleep delayed by up to 85 minutes while exposed to bright light.

So the takeaway from this? Avoid ingesting a lot of caffeine if you want to sleep, and turn the lights off. The study claims that a double espresso three hours before bed can mess you up. But on the plus side, this might help travellers, especially when they have to fly through multiple time zones to reach their destinations. It’s possible that the right amount of caffeine could help people adjust to gaining hours during flights, so they don’t end up going to sleep too early. Of course, we’ll need more studies to figure out how much caffeine that is, or when to take it.

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About DevonJ140
I am currently an Accounting Director living in New York City. I love reading and learning more about business, finance, tech, and current events.

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