Archive | March 18, 2013

Caffeine and sleep


Dear reader, I won’t insult your intelligence. You know caffeine is a stimulant and drinking too much tea or coffee during the day, or late at night can affect your sleep.

Some people report becoming their sleep becomes more disrupted by caffeine as they age.

So what to do? You know if you go cold turkey and stop your coffee or tea, you may get a headache. And who doesn’t enjoy the whole social connection that comes over a cup of tea.

You could start by cutting out all sources of caffeine after 5pm, and then work backwards, cutting all caffeine after 3pm, then 2pm and so on, until you only have the equivalent of two cups of coffee a day in the morning.

There’s an interesting interview here with Professor Jack James who has worked at universities around the world and studies caffeine.

When asked how long caffeine stays in the system he said:

It stays in the system for some hours. The half life of caffeine, the time it takes to eliminate caffeine, if you like, as expressed by its half life, is about five hours. In most people the usual consumption patterns are that they begin consuming caffeine by way of coffee or tea in the morning and then occasionally during the day. The caffeine levels accumulate in their blood during the day, but then most people will taper off their use in the late afternoon or evening and abstain entirely overnight. So there is a period of about 12 or 14 hours overnight during which they’re not ingesting any caffeine, and that period is long enough, given the relatively short elimination half life of caffeine, to deplete the blood levels of caffeine by the next morning – hence that sense of needing to have a cup of coffee or tea first thing when people wake up.

So if you go to bed at 10pm, you’d want to stop drinking at 5pm. But if you were drinking a lot, you’d probably start to have cravings around bedtime as the caffeine levels in the blood dropped.

I don’t drink coffee or cola drinks. I do enjoy cups of tea and chocolate. Normal black tea has about half the caffeine as coffee. So my four mugs with a lot of milk a day are about the equivalent of two cups of coffee.

I don’t think tea or chocolate has disturbed my sleep as much as stress from the day and poor bedtime routines. I have already cut my usual tea consumption for other health reasons. So now I have 3 mugs of tea a day at work before lunch – usually one when I get to work, one a short time later and one at morning tea. Then I switch to water. I do have a mug of tea after dinner with Mr Sans. It’s my habit and I find it relaxing. And chocolate, well, I think my hips are more affected by chocolate than my sleep!

I made it to bed again at 11, with no sleeping on the lounge, and slept quickly. Woke a few times, (Mr Sans was snoring) but I fell asleep again quickly. Woke too early just before 5 and then dozed off again at 6 for half an hour. 6 and a half hours sleep.

Today’s decluttered item = little girl hair clips. I don’t have little girls but found these in my yard and held onto them. I don’t know why I have held onto them. I am way beyond the age of looking cute or boho or alternative in something like this. I would just look silly. Sometimes we have little things in our drawers that we just don’t see and the little things accumulate to a whole lot of mess. I have looked and looked in my bedside drawers and it is amazing at what is always turning up to be decluttered.