After drinking coffee all day, you may find you are overstimulated by the caffeine and need to find ways to settle both your mind and body to help you get a night of better quality sleep. In this post, I will share with you some expert tips that will show you how to fall asleep after drinking coffee too close to bedtime.
Most of the time, we try so hard to get things done right, apply too much effort, and then find it difficult to ease back and rest when we get into bed at night.
Getting a good night’s sleep isn’t just about sleeping seven or eight hours. It’s about sleeping deeply and restoratively, making sure you get plenty of REM, deep sleep, and light sleep balance, which should be split like this:
- REM 2 -3 hours per night
- Deep sleep 2-3 hours per night
- Light sleep 3-4 hours per night
So that when you wake up, you’re energized and ready to face your day, whatever it brings. But how do we do this when the noise and demands of life make us constantly wake throughout the night fretting and worrying and making us unable to get back to sleep?
What is caffeine?
Caffeine is a natural substance that can be extracted from coffee beans, cocoa beans, and tea leaves.
Caffeine is a stimulant that promotes alertness. Adenosine is a substance produced in your body that promotes sleepiness. Caffeine blocks the adenosine receptors and stops you from feeling sleepy.
Common side effects of too much caffeine
- Increased heart rate
- Increased breathing rate
- Muscle tremors
How does caffeine affect sleep?
Caffeine can make it hard for you to fall asleep and it can decrease your total sleep time. Caffeine also has a detrimental effect on the amount of deep sleep have throughout the night.
For How Long Does Caffeine Affect Sleep?
If you’re wondering if it’s a good idea to drink coffee before sleeping it’s good to know how long coffee stays in the system. After drinking a cup of coffee you will see the effects within 30 minutes. The caffeine can stay in your bloodstream for approximately 8 hours which can, in turn, have a negative impact on your sleep. So now we need to know how to fall asleep after drinking coffee before bed.
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How To Fall Asleep After Drinking Coffee Before Bedtime
Easy tricks to help you fall asleep after drinking coffee before bed
- Remember it’s normal to wake up during the night.
Do you know that it’s completely normal to wake up during the night? Everyone does. In fact, on average most of us wake up around ten times a night. You don’t remember it because scientists believe that this is a survival mechanism, and if we didn’t do it, we would probably be extinct as a species. So we wake up and check that the home is safe before sliding back into a deep sleep again. At least that’s what we hope for. However, after drinking too many caffeine-filled coffees, many of us wake up and can’t get back to sleep again.
When you wake up during the night it’s important to remember that it’s perfectly normal, so don’t be stressed about it and don’t check the time, simply lie back enjoying the time to rest and find ease in your body.
Try these simple tips at night while lying in bed or during the day, taking time out from your busy life, or while sitting comfortably in your favorite chair so you can use the techniques next time you try to fall asleep after drinking coffee.
- Don’t check your phone
Most people wake up and then make the biggest mistake of all, they immediately look at their phones to check the time, and they lie there worrying about not being able to get back to sleep. This makes them anxious and makes it almost impossible to get back to sleep.
Do you do this? Now it’s time for you to do things differently!
- Have no more than three shots of coffee per day.
Allow yourself no more than three shots of coffee per day, so on average, two to three cups of caffeinated coffee. Doing this will allow the caffeine time to leave your body well before it’s time to wind down and go to sleep.
- Switch to decaffeinated coffee after 4 pm.
To get a better quality of sleep, try turning to decaf coffee after 4 pm. This will help get rid of any excess caffeine in your bloodstream before you go to bed.
The average cup of caffeinated coffee takes approximately 4-6 hours to leave the body, so switching to decaffeinated about six hours before going to bed will allow the caffeine to leave your body before you go to sleep.
- Don’t consume any caffeine after 4 pm
If you don’t want to switch to decaffeinated coffee but worry about having withdrawal symptoms, try not to drink coffee or caffeinated drinks after 4 pm to allow it to leave your system before you go to bed, and not affect your sleep quality so greatly. Many energy drinks, fizzy drinks, tea, and medicine contain caffeine so be sure to avoid those after 4 pm too.
Be careful if you suddenly stop taking caffeine, particularly if you’ve been drinking it for a long time as you may find you get some pretty bad withdrawal symptoms. Common withdrawal symptoms from caffeine include:
▪️ Low energy levels
▪️ Bad moods
- Stay hydrated.
Drinking water in-between cups of coffee will help keep you hydrated throughout the day and may encourage you to drink less coffee. Coffee is a diuretic and dehydrates your body making it important to replenish and re-hydrate throughout the day.
- Use sleep aids like Melatonin
Caffeine products prevent your body from producing Melatonin, serotonin, and adenosine, which have an important part in falling and staying asleep. If you’re having trouble nodding off, you can try Melatonin supplements like these to help you drift into a nice cozy sleep.
- Get into a good sleep schedule.
Following a regular sleep cycle will help your body’s clock get used to when it’s time to go to sleep and when it’s time to wake up naturally. So your body knows when to produce the Melatonin, serotonin, and adenosine aiding a restful night.
- Turn your bedroom into a spar.
Remember how easy it is to get relaxed as soon as you walk into a spa. Think about the sounds and smells they have around that make you relaxed, like essential oils, relaxing music, and no clutter. Try to replicate this in your bedroom so you have a safe calm space to relax.
- Diffuse essential oils.
- Check your room temperature.
It isn’t easy to sleep in a room that is too hot, so check that the heating is off and that your duvet covers are not too thick, especially in the summer. Open windows regularly to air out the room and change the air quality
- Turn off electronics,
- Don’t eat after 6 pm
If your body is trying to digest a large meal before you go to bed, it may hinder your sleep. Try not to eat after 6 pm to allow your body time to relax and recharge.
- Check the light in your room.
Make sure your curtains are blocking out sufficient light, and that TVs and electronics are turned off, so your body isn’t affected by the blue light which tricks you into thinking that it’s time to wake up.
There’s no better way to get tired than to exercise. Even if it’s just a quick walk around the block before you go to bed, it will blow the cobwebs away and help you to drift into a deep, deep slumber.
- Take a warm bath
Have a hot bath just before you go to bed, this will allow you time to wind down and will allow your body to relax naturally.
- Listen to an audiobook, podcast, or music.
Listening to an audiobook or podcast or some relaxing music is an easy way to help you to drift off to sleep nice and quickly. You can get your audible membership here and start listening to your first book today.
- Try some relaxation techniques
Many people find that once they try this technique a few times, they can start to relax as they go about their busy days sitting at a desk, in front of the computer, or standing in a queue at the supermarket.
When we practice finding ease and calm during the waking hours the better we become at doing this at night, in bed, and the easier it is to improve sleep quality.
▪️ Take a moment to notice where you are.
What feels good about where you are right now?
Look around the room, does it feel peaceful, safe, and comforting?
Become aware of anything in this space that feels good, sounds, and smells.
If you’re in bed how does it feel?
Are you enjoying the support of the mattress and pillow?
▪️ Take a deep breath in. As you breathe out, allow it out even more deeply.
Lean back into your chair or mattress even more and appreciate the support you’re being given right now.
Allow your eyes to close gently and bring your attention to your breathing, simply follow it and allow it to do whatever it needs to do, your breath is the guide.
▪️ Now, place your hands on your body, anywhere you may have discomfort or pain.
Just enjoy the reassuring heaviness of them.
If there are any areas of pain or tightness in your body, place your hands on that area allow and enjoy the feeling of ease and relaxation.
▪️ Allow yourself to soften, and lean back into your mattress or chair.
If you notice any anxieties or worries arising simply allow them to pass through your mind, notice them and keep coming back to your breaths using the words” in” and “out”.
Anytime you feel tightness entering your body whisper softly and silently to yourself as if you’re soothing a small child.
▪️Allow the weight of your hands on your body to remind you to be here now.
Use this time to simply rest deeply and think about resting.
Know that resting deeply can restore you even more powerfully than trying to sleep and sleeping restlessly, so remember this whenever you wake during the night.
▪️Whenever you can’t sleep, simply rest and invite ease into your body and brain. This is your time to enjoy the feeling of not having to do anything other than being in a state of deep rest and ease.
I would not recommend drinking any type of energy drink before bed as they are absolutely laden with caffeine, approximately 240 mg per can in comparison to approximately 90mg for your average cup of coffee. My advice is to avoid drinking energy drinks for many hours before you want to sleep.
If you drink a few cups of milk tea before bed this can reduce your sleep time by approximately 1 hour per cup. The sugar in your tea will also give you an energy hit just before bedtime.
Decaffeinated coffee will not cause dehydration but the tannins in the coffee may cause your mouth to feel dry, this is not the same as dehydration.
When we sleep after drinking coffee the caffeine in the coffee stimulates our brain, so while it’s not necessarily bad to sleep after drinking coffee you may find it disturbs your sleep patterns.
If you are having a latte or a milky coffee before bed it may make you feel sleepy as it’s very comforting, rather like a hot chocolate.
I would never substitute anything for sleep. Your body needs to sleep to function well the next day.
Try the relaxation techniques and tips above to help you get off to sleep.
Drinking coffee at night will probably make it harder for you to fall asleep, reduce the amount of sleep you get, and therefore make it harder for you to get up in the morning.
Whenever we give up coffee and caffeine the withdrawal symptoms can be quite difficult to bear but if you stick with it, it gets easier each day, until about a week when you should begin to feel great as your circadian rhythm returns to normal.
I would suggest drinking more water, trying a decaffeinated blend, and going to see your medical practitioner about your chest pains to rule out any other medical problems.
It is true that some people with ADHD find that caffeine relaxes them at night, however before my son was medicated for his ADHD I tried several ways to help him relax one of which was caffeinated drinks, and found that it had absolutely no effect on him whatsoever so I think it’s down to each individual.
So hopefully you will know how to fall asleep after drinking coffee the next time! If you have any questions drop them in the comment box below.
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