by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
I like to start my day with one or two cups of coffee. It’s not that I can’t function without my morning coffee; I just like the taste.
Sometimes in the afternoon before I workout, I’ll have a cup of green tea (because apparently it helps you burn 19% more fat) though my personal trainer suggested drinking white tea instead because it would probably help the same way without the caffeine.
Occasionally, I like to drink a can of diet cola or have a piece of chocolate. But that’s as far as I go with my caffeine intake. I don’t buy energy drinks and wouldn’t know which brand to choose if I wanted one.
Caffeine and other stimulates can wreak havoc on your sleep cycle. Drinking caffeinated beverages can make it more difficult to fall asleep and reduce the quality of sleep. If you drink a caffeinated drink at night, you’ll likely wake up more often and will have limited deep sleep and REM sleep. All in all, less caffeine is a sleeper’s dream.
Cut down on your caffeine if you can
If you suspect that caffeine is keeping you up at night and is contributing to your insomnia, try drinking fewer caffeinated beverages in your day. But cutting down on caffeine can be easier said than done. If you go cold turkey, you may experience severe withdrawal headaches. It’s best to reduce your caffeine intake gradually. If you are having trouble sleeping at night:
- Avoid energy drinks;
- Try to limit yourself to 3 or 4 cups of tea a day;
- Try to limit yourself to 2 cups of coffee a day (and drink them earlier in the day rather than later);
- Try decaffeinated tea or coffee to see if you like the taste;
- If you’re relying on coffee to give you energy, try drinking a glass of water first because your fatigue may be related to dehydration instead;
- Replace one of your daily teas or coffees or colas or energy drinks with something like herbal teas, orange juice, or smoothies;
- Instead of drinking caffeinated beverages, go for a snack like a banana, or a few pieces of dried fruit or a granola bar.
A note on energy drinks
Saying to avoid energy drinks may sound harsh, but they are loaded with caffeine and sugar. Energy drinks are popular (especially among young people who feel they need to stay up late to study in school) because they are formulated to boost mental and physical energy. (Coffee, tea and soft drinks are not considered energy drinks even though they contain caffeine).
Energy drinks are generally made with ingredients like carbonated water, acai, ginseng, gingko biloba as well as vitamin B and other herbs. They also often contain guarana and yerba mate which are hidden sources of caffeine. Ultimately, energy drinks contain more than 3 times the amount of caffeine than a can of cola and are served in larger cans which also increases their potency.
Although drinking energy drinks can improve mental alertness, excessive consuption can cause agitation, anxiety, irritability, nausea, nervousness, abnormal heart rhythms, increased urination, sleeplessness and insomnia, especially if two or more cans are consumed in a day.
So, if you’re at a loss of why you have insomnia, look at your daily caffeine intake. You just might be able to improve the quality of your sleep with this one change. As always, write a comment and let us know your progress.