Caffeine and Alcohol
Bedphones on 15th Oct 2014
Let's talk about the big two drinks: alcohol and caffeine.
You have probably heard about the horrors of drinking coffee too late in the day, and the wonders of a glass of wine before bed.
We're going to be taking a look at the truth behind those claims.
So settle in, grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine if you enjoy irony, and let's take this one at a time.
Obviously, caffeine is a stimulant. The whole point of having a caffeinated beverage is to make you feel more awake.
It follows, then, that drinking coffee before bed is probably not a good idea.
But, even more than that, caffeine has an effect on sleep quality even if you drink it hours before bed.
In fact, caffeine can affect your body for more than 6 hours after you drink it.
You would think the caffeine would have left your system after 6 hours, but not so. Researchers report that people who drink coffee 6 hours before bed have more sleep disturbances and a lower overall quality of sleep.
And don't even think about drinking it less than 3 hours prior to your sleep time, because it only gets worse.
The study also shows that many people don't realize their sleep was affected, even though the data clearly shows it has.
So even if you don't feel like your cup of coffee in the afternoon is doing anything to your sleep schedule, it almost definitely is.
Alcohol is a tricky one.
People will always tell you about the power of a nightcap before bed. After all, it's a documented phenomenon that people fall asleep quicker after they've had a few.
That's got to be a good thing, right?
Whilst having a good glass of wine before bed certainly will help you fall asleep quicker, alcohol actually reduces your REM, your most restful cycle of sleep, for as long as it's in your system.
However, the body has a 'bounce-back' function.
Once the alcohol has been processed, your REM cycles will be longer, earning back the REM sleep you lost earlier. This essentially means you're getting the same amount of REM sleep whether you consume alcohol or not.
"Well, glad we straightened that out!" We hear you cry.
"I can continue enjoying my evening glass of wine."
We like your enthusiasm, but hold on, because we have some bad news.
It's not just REM sleep that's involved. The other cycles are affected as well, and your overall sleep will be a lot lighter than it should be. You'll find yourself waking more frequently, and doing a lot of tossing and turning.
And on top of that, alcohol consumption can actually worsen insomnia.
So maybe don't go for that nightcap before bed. It's only going to make the situation worse. Instead, opt for a nice warm cup of bedtime tea.
And, for an even better night's sleep, we recommend you to try Bedphones paired with some relaxing music or a soothing podcast on a comfy couch instead of regular nightcap.