How to Know When to Stop Drinking Caffeine in Order to Sleep

drinking coffee

Is there a time of the day when it is best to stop drinking coffee or other caffeinated beverages to get a good night's sleep?

If your morning coffee is followed by afternoon coffee, or if you are drinking a caffeinated beverage like soda with dinner and then laying in bed unable to fall asleep, it might be time to reexamine how much caffeine you're drinking and what time of the day you need to cut yourself off.

Epidemiology and nutrition researcher Rob M. van Dam tells CNN there is no magic time of the day to stop consuming caffeine to avoid it affecting your sleep.

"Different people react very differently to caffeine. If you're getting tremors, feeling suddenly nervous, or your heart rate is changing, it could well be that you're drinking too much caffeine. And similarly, it can interfere with a good night's sleep," he explains.

He says the best approach is trial and error and encourages caffeine drinkers to experiment with cutting off their intake at various times in the day to figure out when it will not affect sleep.

The nutrition researcher also notes lifestyle, genetics, and other factors can affect how the body processes caffeine. Those who smoke metabolize caffeine in the liver about twice as fast as those who do not and they can usually drink caffeine later in the day with fewer effects. Women taking oral contraceptives metabolize caffeine up to 2 times slower and ingesting the stimulant later in the day can dramatically affect their sleep patterns. 

The FDA recommends not having more than 400 milligrams of caffeine per day and also suggests not having more than 200 milligrams in one sitting. An 8-ounce cup of coffee has around 100 milligrams of caffeine, so it is advised to only have 4 cups of coffee maximum in a day and only 2 in a sitting.

The Doctors and CNN's expert stress moderation is key when enjoying your morning coffee or tea and to cut back if you are having trouble sleeping or feeling jittery.

More: 8 Blue-Light-Blocking Glasses That Just Might Help You Sleep Better

More: Caffeine or Alcohol: Find Out Which Is Worse for Sleep

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