Don’t let the caffeine in your daily cuppa ‘mug’ your sleep

Are you one of those people whose day can’t start properly without a shot of caffeine?

Coffee is usually the prime suspect when it comes to caffeine, but did you know that tea contains caffeine, and, depending on the type of tea and strength, it can contain between one third to a half the amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee.

Energy drinks also contain caffeine, and, depending on the brand, they can contain at least half that of coffee, plus they usually have huge amounts of sugar in them – with some having an eye watering 20 teaspoons in one can!

Caffeine’s ‘half-life’

Caffeine, as we all know, is a stimulant. It gets into your system very quickly and usually peaks in your blood after around half an hour. It also has what is known as a ‘half-life’, that is, how long it takes to get half of it out of your system – that’s generally between three and five hours. The remaining caffeine can stay in your body for quite a long time after that, usually between eight and fourteen hours.

So, if you are still reaching for the stimulating caffeine mid-afternoon, chances are that a great deal of it may still be in your system when you go to bed, so you’re still going to be wired but also tired.

Caffeine is what we call one of the sleep thieves because it can make it difficult for you to get to sleep. It can reduce your sleep time by around an hour and, most importantly, it can also disrupt the amount of important deep sleep you get when the body does all its cell and muscle repairs.

What to drink instead

If you’re a coffee or tea enthusiast, we advise that you try and stop your caffeine intake by 2pm or switch to de-caff tea and coffee or, even better, herbal teas.  We love rooibos or redbush tea, camomile or fresh mint in our house.

Remember that caffeine is also a diuretic, and can be responsible for waking you up for those nocturnal trips to the loo.