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The Importance of Avoiding Late Night Coffee: Effects and Tips

Coffee is among the most consumed beverages in the world – next to water and tea – and contains over a hundred different substances, including fats, minerals and vitamins. But the main star element in coffee is caffeine: a drug that scientists categorize as a “central nervous system stimulant” and the most widely consumed psychoactive substance on the planet.

Caffeine is the reason coffee is touted for its effects on energy, focus, memory and fighting that creeping nap. Research shows that coffee can help boost your athletic performance, just a little. Consuming it regularly throughout your life is it has also been linked to the prevention of cognitive decline and reducing the risk of conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.

But what time of day is best for sipping?

How much coffee is too much?

Drink your coffee and you’ll start to feel it effects anywhere from 5 to 45 minutes. Next, the caffeine it has a half-life of 2 to 5 hours. This means that if you ingested 100mg of caffeine at 10am, you would likely have up to 50mg of it still circulating in your bloodstream by 3pm

Caffeine and your body /COFFEE

But how your body takes it that caffeine also varies greatly based on your age, gender and hormones, genetics, personal tolerance and lifestyle. Some people are naturally more tolerant to caffeine than others. Others have developed a tolerance because they have recently consumed a lot. For example, researchers have noticed that some people have genes that allow them to metabolize caffeine much faster than others, but are also more likely to consume more coffee as a result.

Caffeine and anxiety

Moderate caffeine intake in one sitting is between 50 and 250 mg, according to to the International Coffee Scientific Association. It can increase your sense of well-being, relaxation, alertness and concentration, as well as reduce the pain of headaches and migraines. Consuming more than this, anything from 400 mg at a time upwards, can easily cause caffeine side effects such as nervousness and restlessness, aggression and tremors. This also happens if you are one of the people who are naturally more susceptible to the drug.

Read more: The biology of stress in your body

Caffeine and sleep

Caffeine has the biggest impact on sleep. The longer we are awake, the more we need sleep. As the day progresses, there is an increase in the chemical adenosine in the brain, which contributes to feeling increasingly sleepy.

“What caffeine does is it blocks the adenosine receptor, so it kind of blocks that sleepy signal that you normally get,” says John Stuart O’Neillcircadian biologist at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology.

Circadian rhythm

Another element that regulates how tired we feel is the circadian rhythm, which is the natural biological clock that tells us whether to sleep or be more awake at the expected time of day. We all operate on a more or less 24-hour biological clock, and studies show that coffee-induced arousal, at a time when your body naturally relaxes, it can disrupt your circadian rhythm.

“When you have caffeine after 5 or 6 p.m., it can signal the circadian clock in the same way that seeing light at the wrong time of day does,” says O’Neill. “It’s like you’re jet-lagged.”

His research showed that, other things being equal, caffeine can slow down your circadian rhythm by about 45 minutes. “There’s a 12-hour window in your day when it’s advisable to avoid caffeine,” says O’Neill. “6 o’clock at night to 6 o’clock in the morning is not a good time to consume caffeine.”

Avoid coffee late at night

Of course, everyone drinks evening coffee now and then if they have to finish a project or drive a long way home. It won’t completely ruin your sleep hygiene. But develop a habit of evening coffee it could potentially mean that you are constantly unable.

“If your body clock is constantly slowing down relative to the natural world, and you’re constantly getting, say, an hour or two less sleep than you need, the long-term outlook for your health is less good than if you weren’t doing that ‘ says O’Neill.

Read more: How to recover from a sleepless night

When shall we have coffee?

There’s also research that shows that if you have caffeine too early in the morning, it can throw off the circadian clock a bit so that you start feeling sleepy earlier. But the effect of this seems to be minimal so far. In fact, there doesn’t seem to be any solid evidence that one route is better than another when it comes to morning coffee consumption.

Drink coffee in the morning

“The best time to drink coffee is in the morning,” they say William R. Lovallo, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. That’s because caffeine also stimulates the brain chemical dopamine—sometimes called the reward chemical—giving us a little lift and mood boost to start the day off right. It also aligns with our circadian rhythm and the ebb and flow of other hormones our body produces.


For example, in the morning, so do we get a little spike in cortisol levels, a stress hormone that helps our system work while the sun rises. There there is speculation as to whether to wait for cortisol levels to drop before drinking coffee can be a more efficient way of caffeinating, making the most of the natural energy rush from cortisol first. But there doesn’t seem to be much scientific evidence to support this yet.

“Even though cortisol is elevated in the hours after we wake up, that doesn’t seem to mean it’s not a good time to drink coffee,” says Lovallo, who has specifically examined the effect of caffeine on daytime cortisol levels. “It’s not relevant,” Lovallo says. “After all, most people prefer their coffee in the morning, regardless of their cortisol levels.”

What’s more, when it comes to caffeine alertness, don’t forget the placebo effect. Research shows that the people who i think they consume caffeine, they may experience the same boost as if they tasted this sweet stimulant.

Read more: 6 ways to wake up feeling more rested

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