The aroma of coffee is an irresistible charm for anyone, especially if you’re a coffee enthusiast. So let’s say you give in to it and brew yourself a fine cup of your preference. But, what’s this? Now your eyes won’t close, and you have work in the morning. At this point, almost all of us have faced this phenomenon. So, to get over it, today we’ll discuss how to fall asleep after drinking coffee.
When you’re trying to fall asleep, your brain goes through a 4-step cycle for falling asleep. These 4 steps are:
- Light Sleep
- Deep Sleep
- REM (Rapid Eye Movement) Sleep
The question is, how does caffeine interfere with this cycle? To understand how we need to know how caffeine affects our brain first.
Our brain produces “Adenosine” when we are awake. So adenosine keeps adding up in our brain, making us feel more and more tired as the day goes on.
When you sleep at night, the effects of adenosine reset, and we start another cycle of going through the day till we fall asleep.
The structure of caffeine is very similar to adenosine, allowing it to easily replace the flow of adenosine. As a result, instead of feeling tired, we feel more alert and full of energy because caffeine tricks the adenosine receptors.
From all this, it’s easy to see how coffee can mess with your sleep. It makes you feel awake and alive when you should be sleeping, preventing you from falling into a deep sleep. Worst case scenario, you might not be able to sleep at all.
Though this is the most general case, for other people, coffee or an energy drink with caffeine in it can have the exact opposite effect.
For some people, coffee makes them more tired/ sleepy instead of giving them an energy boost. And it can happen to you too.
The caffeine content in all caffeinated drinks can take away your sleep constantly, causing sleep deprivation. When you’re feeling sleepy, your default response to sleepiness will be drinking more coffee to keep yourself up just for a bit more.
But no matter how much coffee you drink, your body will keep getting tired, and it catches up really fast. So when you’re constantly tired, the properties of coffee only remind your body how tired you are and make you sleepy instead of picking you up.
Now that you understand how drinking your favorite cup of joe can prevent you from getting a much-needed good night’s sleep, let’s look at 15 valuable tips for falling asleep after drinking coffee.
400 mg of caffeine per day is the safe limit for your caffeine intake, so it’s best to divide them accordingly throughout the day so you don’t end up taking too much coffee before bedtime.
You can take the most caffeine during the morning hours, which will help you get through the day while leaving a small room for coffee afterward.
When making coffee in the late afternoon, try to weaker your afternoon cup by adding more water or milk. This way, the caffeine dose doesn’t mess with your sleep.
If you still have trouble with sleep, it’s best to take your afternoon coffee per day out of the equation altogether.
Caffeine isn’t the only thing that stimulates your brain throughout the day. All the notification alerts from your socials on your phone are a stimulant for your brain as well.
Your body produces a hormone called melatonin, which is the hormone responsible for your sleep-wake cycle by maintaining the circadian rhythm. However, when you’re staring at your phone for long hours, the blue light emission of the devices reduces the rate of melatonin production.
Trying to sleep with caffeine in your system is already an uphill battle. Make it easier on yourself by staying off of your phone before bedtime and keeping all electronics away from the bedside table.
Taking a walk can be a very relaxing experience, which helps you tire yourself. Now, we aren’t suggesting you start running at 10 pm to fall asleep by 11. Instead, the idea is to take a light stroll after the evening.
Walking starts winding your body down and slowly preparing your mind for bedtime. Burning some energy can also help you get a bit of caffeine out of your system.
There are hundreds of studies out there that will suggest you exercise every day. It’s a piece of advice so common that even your friends will tell you to work out if you can’t sleep. But how does that help with coffee-induced awakening?
When you perform routine exercises for around 30 minutes a day, your body burns a lot of energy and starts dehydrating you. Coffee is a diuretic and can also dehydrate you. In both cases, dehydration will ruin your sleep by causing:
- Dry mouth
- Leg cramps
When you do your exercises, you are tempted to keep yourself hydrated throughout the day with plenty of water, which can help you counter the dehydration caused by both the exercise and coffee.
This is a solution that can relax all the nerves over your body. If you don’t have any plans after the evening, it’s best to treat yourself to a long, warm bath before bedtime and after the evening coffee.
When you bathe in warm water, the warmth relaxes all your nerves and signals your brain to start winding down slowly, even when you have caffeine in your system.
If you have issues with falling asleep in general, a warm shower can work wonders even without coffee. Just remember to keep the warmth in check and not make the water burn hot.
For additional benefits, use shower gels that have a relaxing aroma. The most obvious choice here is a shower gel that contains lavender extract. Also, you can relax your face muscles along with your body by massaging night creams.
We mentioned melatonin earlier, which is the hormone helping you to fall asleep. You can also take extra melatonin supplements to try and fall asleep faster.
But if you choose to do so, please consult a doctor to ensure if it’s safe and the safe amount of doses you can take while caffeine is still in your body.
You have sweet tooth, you love coffee. But, you are worried about calories and sweets. Here, learn from our how to sweeten coffee without sugar article.
If you’re struggling to fall asleep even after applying some of the tips above, why not try out essential oils?
I’m not an expert on the matter (since I’ve personally haven’t used them much), the five most recommended oils I could find for sleeping are:
- Evening Primrose Oil
- Lavender Oil
- Magnesium Oil
- Chamomile Oil
- Sandalwood Oil
Even when you have caffeine in your body, the oils can put you to rest anyway.
This is a long-term idea, but it’s really beneficial for sleep and your overall physical health.
Try falling asleep at the same time for a week. Then, when you’re used to falling asleep and waking up at a particular time, your body will get used to the cycle, and it will even disregard the caffeine in the system when it’s “bedtime,” according to the news cycle.
Summary: you trick your circadian rhythm into helping you get a whole night of sleep, regardless of your caffeine intake.
Meditation, or Yoga, has been considered the best way to achieve maximum relaxation since ancient times. When all else fails, you can always go towards either to help yourself feel relaxed enough to sleep.
Meditation is relatively effortless if you don’t constantly imagine Master Shifu lecturing you. Then it’s tough and hilarious.
Jokes aside, all you need to do is sit or lay down in a quiet room in a comfortable position and breathe naturally yet slowly. Focusing on your breathing and body movement lets your brain focus on one thing instead of many, putting you in a relaxed mood, and making you sleepy.
If you’re looking into Yoga, there are a few essential poses that can relax several of your body muscles, which can ease you into sleep after drinking coffee.
Also known as “Balasana,” it’s a simple meditative pose that can help you relieve stress from your back, neck, and shoulders.
If you work a desk job, this is the perfect pose for you. This pose helps you relieve tension from your hips and groin region.
Sitting and stretching may sound simple enough, but it helps you get rid of all the stresses from your upper body while strengthening your spine and making you feel relaxed.
A great pose to relax your thighs, hips, and back, this pose promotes mindfulness as well as relaxation.
Don’t be scared; it’s just the name of a specific sleeping position. All you need to do is lay on your back with your arms by your side. Spread your legs shoulder-width apart, and you’re good to go.
This pose allows you to fall asleep faster than any other pose since with each deep breath, you can feel yourself dozing off into the relaxing world of slumber, even when you clearly remember you had a cup of coffee not too many hours ago.
You want to enjoy a cup of coffee at home. But, you are out of budget to buy a coffee maker? No worries, Learn from our how to make coffee without coffee maker article.
When you maintain the temperature of your room to a level that you prefer for personal comfort, you can make sure it’ll be easier for you to fall asleep. But, of course, it means that you need to keep your room cold in summer and warm in winter. But how do you get to doing so?
- Use bedsheets made out of silk, cotton, and linen.
- Try and get a bed with a latex, gel memory foam, or a similar cooling mechanism.
- Run the air conditioner of your room a couple of hours before bedtime, so your room reaches the optimal temperature by the time you need to sleep.
- In the case of bedsheets, use heavy materials, and keep as many blankets as you need to keep yourself warm. However, don’t overdo it because then you start sweating, and your sleep is ruined again.
- Keep your sleep time clothes warm by blow-drying them.
- Just like air conditioners in summer, run the heater a couple of hours before sleeping to get the optimal temperature during bedtime.
Just like certain temperatures, light levels can also affect your sleep. So try using lights with a lower wattage for your bedside lamp. In addition, specific colors of lights can help you fall asleep quickly, such as dim blue or shades of yellow.
As we mentioned earlier, blue light that comes from your cell phone and other electronic devices can reduce your melatonin count. If you must use your phones at night, try switching to “reader mode” or “low light mode” based on your phone settings.
When you read a book before bedtime, your eyes’ continuous left to right movement can induce a feeling of tired eyes, which prompts you to close your eyes and rest. When you close your eyes to relax, you can fall asleep faster even with the caffeine kick you feel in your body.
Music is food for the soul. It can relate to any mood you may have and make us feel comfortable in any given situation. If you love music, you can use calm, soothing tones to fall asleep faster too. There are multiple benefits of plugging your headphones in for trying to fall asleep.
- Stress prevents you from falling into a deep, REM sleep. The calm tone of the music can ease your nerves and reduce stress.
- Relaxation from music in your ears reduces sleep disturbance from outside noises.
- With music, you can maintain your deep sleep state for a longer
- Music reduces depressive symptoms in a person. Uplifted mood relaxes the brain, helping to get better sleep
- Music helps the mind go from “Awake” to “light sleep” pretty fast
This can sound contrary to the tip I offered in the previous section, but keep in mind that not everyone may be a fan of music in their ears before bedtime.
The first step towards a calm environment is to pick a room where you can’t hear any outside noises. Though rooms like that are hard to find in modern era cities, it’s still worth a try.
The quiet doesn’t just come from shutting out outside noises; however, it’s the noises in the house that you need to suppress too. But how?
Remember when we said coffee can make you extra alert? When your brain is already on high alert, even faint noises made by home appliances, TV, radio, etc., can hit your ear and cause sleep interruptions.
Even after turning it all off, you find it hard to sleep. So I suggest taking a pair of good earplugs, stuffing them in your ears, and drifting away into the land of dreams slowly.
You drank less coffee, took a walk, then a shower, then read a relaxing book while listening to calm music while being in your cozy bed with the right room temperature, and even then, it’s 2 am, and now you’re here reading this section.
The last resort is to play a little mind game with yourself. Continuously tell yourself that you HAVE to stay awake and watch yourself doze off in a few minutes.
I assure you, I’m not a magician. Instead, it’s a reverse psychology technique, referred to as “Paradoxical intention.”
You know when someone tells you to do something, so you feel like doing the exact opposite? That’s the same trick we’re trying to apply to fall asleep here.
When you constantly lay there and tell yourself to stay awake, at one point, your brain just might take the bait and put you to sleep instead.
Now, after reading the whole thing, you should reward yourself with a hot cup of coffee. If you don’t know how to prepare it, read out and learn from our how to do coffee cupping at home article.
Though many of these tips and tricks may not be equally applicable to all of us, it never hurts to try one of them out. But unfortunately, even though the benefits of caffeine are undeniable, it’s not a substitute for sleep.
If you are already exhausted from sleep deprivation, caffeine will only make you feel more tired and sleepy instead of giving you an energy boost.
You can take coffee at late noon or afternoon before bedtime. It’s best not to take coffee after the evening if you want to sleep at the right time, free from caffeine effects.
You should wait at least 6 hours between your last caffeinated beverage and bedtime.
Caffeine ingestion from multiple cups of coffee can completely ruin your sleep cycle, even not letting you sleep at all, which can only result in a sudden caffeine crash.
Caffeine can stay in your system for as short as 15 minutes to as long as a few hours. It depends on your metabolism rate and caffeine tolerance. The time varies from person to person due to genetic differences.