Caffeine Curfew: How Caffeine Affects Sleep and Keeps You Awake

The award for the most popular drug in the world goes to caffeine. It’s found naturally in many plants, including the infamous coffee bean, tea leaf, kola nut and cacao pod. Caffeine is a fairly common beverage all over the world that can be found in coffee, tea, cocoa, chocolate, soft drinks and even in medication.

Caffeine is a Stimulant

Caffeine is commonly consumed in the morning for its stimulating effects that helps people remain focused and alert during the day. However, it’s important to know that drinking caffeine doesn’t replace sleep. It helps us feel awake because it blocks sleep-inducing chemicals in the brain and also gives a boost of adrenaline.

Caffeine Has No Nutritional Benefits

Moderate caffeine intake is considered safe and does not cause any health risks. However, it offers no nutritional value. About 3 cups a day of coffee is considered moderate while more than 6 cups a day is excessive.

Caffeine in Our Body

When we consume caffeine, it enters our bloodstream through the stomach and small intestine. We can start experiencing the effects of caffeine within 15 minutes and the effect sustains for several hours. To eliminate half a cup of caffeine, your body takes about 6 hours. There have been endless studies on the physical dependence on caffeine. If you find you or someone you know is physically dependent on caffeine, the first step is to eliminate it. If you are addicted to caffeine, you might experience symptoms of withdrawal, such as headache, fatigue and muscle pain.

Not Recommended For Children

Caffeine is completely safe for consumption, if consumed in moderation, but it’s definitely not recommended for children. If children start consuming coffee, which offers no nutritional value, they might replace nutrient rich beverages, such as milk. Also, caffeine is also an appetite suppressant, which makes it an even unhealthier choice for children. Similarly, pregnant and nursing women are also advised to limit their caffeine intake to one to two servings per day.

Symptoms of Caffeine Consumption

Upon consumption of caffeine, a person has increased alertness, reduced motor coordination, sleep disturbance, headache, nervousness and dizziness. The former are mild symptoms, but caffeine has also been known to cause severe symptoms, such as, anxiety, irritability, rapid heartbeat, excessive urination, insomnia and a caffeine crash once the effects wear off.

How to Treat Caffeine Symptoms

If you experience any of the above symptoms from the use of caffeine, it’s in your best interest that you discontinue its use. Also, most of these effects have a higher probability of occurring when caffeine is consumed in high doses. So, if you are consuming a rather large dose of caffeine, try to cut back or eliminate it completely. Moreover, if you are taking prescription medicine, make sure you consult your healthcare professional about your caffeine intake.

To consume caffeine in moderation, it’s best you keep track of the caffeine content in your food and drinks. Taking caffeine in moderation won`t interfere with a good night`s sleep.

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