The Effects of Caffeine on an Exhausted Mind and Body23 Sep
You’d probably have a hard time starting your morning without a cup of coffee. That’s not uncommon considering that 80 percent of adults in the U.S. consume some type of caffeine every day. And it’s not a concern since according to the F.D.A. moderate amounts (up to 200 mg) of caffeine each day is not harmful. The concern comes in when you examine how the effects of caffeine affect your daily life. Are you tired all the time? Do you ever get dizzy or have headaches? Do you crash in the afternoon and need more caffeine to get you through the evening — only to lay awake at night unable to fall asleep?
If you’re dealing with sleep deprivation and total exhaustion, drinking more caffeine is not the answer. To further understand, let’s talk about how caffeine affects your mind and body.
How Caffeine Works
Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system which includes the brain, spinal cord, and the other nerves in your body. It enters the bloodstream through the stomach and small intestine, and depending on the size of your body; you can start to feel its effect in as little as 15 minutes. It can keep you alert for several hours since it takes about 6 hours for just half of the caffeine to be eliminated.
The Problems and Effects of Caffeine
It’s great to have a pick-me-up that can make you feel more focused and awake, but there are negative aspects to caffeine as well. Caffeine can:
- Increase heart rate and raise your blood pressure.
- Cause headaches, nervousness, and dizziness.
- Cause dehydration, since it is a diuretic.
- Increase stomach acid that causes heartburn.
- Create and increase the difficulty in falling or staying asleep, leading to sleep deprivation.
How Much is Too Much, and How Late is Too Late?
Again, experts say drinking around 200 mg of caffeine each day is okay, and an 8 oz. cup of coffee contains 100 mg of caffeine, while a 12 oz. Mountain Dew has 55 mg. So you could drink two cups of coffee or a few sodas per day and may not experience many negative effects.
But even in moderate amounts, caffeine can affect the way you sleep depending on when you drink it. Researchers at Michigan’s Henry Ford Hospital’s Sleep Disorders & Research Center and Wayne State College of Medicine analyzed the sleep-disruptive effects (link is external) of caffeine consumption at different times before bedtime. They found that participants who drank caffeine even up to six hours prior to bedtime were either not able to fall asleep or woke up more often throughout the night.
Quick Tip: If you like caffeine but don’t want to deal with sleep deprivation, try to finish your last caffeinated beverage around 2:00 or 3:00 pm.
Caffeine Doesn’t Replace Sleep
Being tired makes us more likely to reach for caffeine, but that can backfire and make us unable to fall asleep. The easiest way to avoid this cycle is to avoid caffeine and make sleep a priority. To sleep better at night and stay more alert during the day, follow these sleep tips:
- Get regular daily exercise early in the day.
- Don’t eat 2-3 hours before bedtime, and avoid alcohol in the evening since it can lead to sleep disruptions.
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends so your body stays on a routine.
- Follow a bedtime routine such as taking a bath or listening to music, so your mind knows that the time to fall asleep is near.
- Keep your room dark and cool so you don’t wake up sweating.
- Sleep on a comfortable, quality mattress that offers enough support. If your mattress is old and sagging, replace it.
Start Getting Better Sleep With a Quality Mattress
If you want to wake up refreshed and recharged, you have to have a comfortable bed. You can find the best name brand selection of quality mattresses to fit any budget at Mark’s Mattress Outlet. We’ve been helping area residents sleep better for over a decade, and we can guide you through our selection of mattresses and find the one that’s right for you.
Before you plan your visit, download your Outlet Pass to save even more: