Some people are perfectly OK with having just one cup of coffee in the morning, but many others cannot get enough of it.
You know the type, those who like to have a cup of coffee on their desk all day and make several trips to the coffee-pot to refill it.
Or how about meeting some friends after work for coffee? The question is how is this going to affect your sleep?
To answer this question, we need to understand how long caffeine stays in the system. Experts say caffeine reaches its peak in your blood within 30-50 minutes after consumption. The half-time or the time needed to eliminate half of the caffeine dose is between 3 to 5 hours.
You still have some caffeine in your system but it will be less with every passing hour.
Based on these numbers, health experts say the cut-off time for coffee should be at least six hours before your normal bedtime.
When you search the Internet, you will find plenty of articles saying you shouldn’t have coffee after 12 pm, or 2 pm at the latest, and this can be very discouraging for coffee lovers. That’s not fair! Indeed, it isn’t and to understand why you shouldn’t pay attention to such warnings, we need to go back to the numbers above.
You need around six hours to eliminate most if not all of the caffeine from your system, which means you can safely have a cup of your favorite coffee drink six hours before going to bed!
Now, if you consider the 2 pm recommended cut-off time that would mean your body will be (almost) caffeine-free by 8 pm. The question is how many adults go to bed at 8 pm? That’s completely unrealistic!
So, if you get off work at 5 pm and meet a friend for a quick cup of coffee, will your sleep be affected? Well, if you’re planning to go to bed around 11 pm you’re probably going to be alright. If your regular bedtime is somewhere past midnight, this means there’s nothing stopping you from having a nice latte around 6 pm.
Another thing to keep in mind is that people who normally drink a lot of coffee, four cups or more per day, have a higher tolerance for caffeine. Your body gets used to its effects and you end up needing more coffee to maintain the same level of alertness.
Someone who consumes coffee only occasionally might have a lot of problems getting to sleep if they are offered an espresso at 5 pm, whereas a person who usually has a coffee at that hour will barely feel any effects.
As much as we’d love to say otherwise, too much caffeine in the body can cause some problems, like anxiety, nervousness, and, indeed, insomnia. Maybe you were caught up in your work, you lost track of how many cups you’ve had, and now you regret it.
The best way to get rid of that excess caffeine in your body is to flush it out with water. Even better, drink some herbal tea to speed up the elimination time for the caffeine in your system. This will calm down the jitters and will allow you to get a good night’s sleep!
As a rule, the cut-off time for coffee is at least 6 hours before going to bed. If you normally go to bed around 10 pm, you shouldn’t have coffee after 4 pm! After dinner coffee? Make that a decaf!
How Late is Too Late for Coffee?