We’ve all been there, lying in bed, wide awake in the dead of the night staring at the ceiling ruing the moment you decided to have that after dinner cup of coffee. There are only so many sheep one can count before they realize sleep is not in the cards for tonight. The coffee won’t wear off for hours.
Forty-three percent of Americans consider themselves very likely to use caffeinated beverages to fight daytime sleepiness, according to a 2001 poll conducted by National Sleep Foundation. Many of these people, however, don’t consider the implications of that coffee or soda once bed time rolls around.
One 8 oz. cup of brewed coffee contains 95-200 mg of caffeine. An 8 oz. cup of black team contains 14-70 mg of caffeine, while a standard 12 oz can of Coca-Cola contains 23-35 mg of caffeine, all according to the Mayo Clinic. The effects of that caffeine will take hours to wear off.
Since everyone’s body is different, there is not an exact amount of time to stop drinking caffeine before bed. But studies have shown that drinking caffeine anytime less than 6 hours before bedtime can disrupt that night’s sleep. Those looking for a good night’s sleep should avoid caffeine between four and six hours before bed, according to Harvard Medical School's Division of Sleep Medicine.
If you are one of those people who can’t get through the day without that afternoon or evening caffeine kick, there are some good replacements out there that can provide a jolt of energy without keeping you up all night. Consider these alternatives to caffeine:
B12: If you have ever consumed an energy drink, chances are you’ve noticed vitamin B12 listed prominently in the ingredients section. That’s because B12 provides people with increased mental clarity and alertness. Not only that, but B12 plays a large role in the body’s production of melatonin – which is a hormone that regulates healthy sleep cycles. So not only will B12 help you skip the caffeine, it will potentially get you back on a regular sleep schedule as well.
Ginkgo Balboa: An herbal extract used in ancient Chinese medicine, Ginkgo Balboa will increase blood flow to the brain and the extremities, increasing focus and simulating the effect of exercise on the body. It will help you feel alert and energized without the jittery, jumpy feeling of caffeine.
Eat an Apple: As the old adage goes, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. It turns out an apple can also keep drowsiness away too. Fruit contains the vitamins and fructose levels needed to give you a natural energy boost. Fructose will spur on your metabolism to produce energy, giving you a similar alertness level as caffeine.
Sleepless nights due to caffeine can be a thing of the past. All it takes is a few simple substitutes and you’ll be asleep by the third sheep once again!