Informed sports









Does caffeine really affect your sleeping pattern?

  • A recent study suggests that caffeine before bed has little to no impact on sleep duration and patterns
  • Nicotine and alcohol were found to be harmful for sleep and sleep patterns whereas caffeine had no effect

The study was published by the Sleep Research Society, which analysed the results of taking caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine up to four hours before bed. The study was conducted in the Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School by researchers from the Florida Atlantic University and involved 785 participants. The participants wrote sleep diaries over the 5,164 days of study, and they all wore wrist bracelets which monitored their sleep patterns and levels. 

Although millions of people worldwide suffer from sleep disorders and challenges, little research is being done to find out precisely what affects sleep. This study was a step towards ameliorating that research gap.

The effects of caffeine

The study set out to determine the impact of taking nicotine, alcohol, or caffeine before bed. Surprisingly, contrary to what would be expected, participants who took caffeine in the evening before bed experienced no disruption to their sleep.

The study found that, instead, “nicotine and alcohol use within 4 hours of bedtime was associated with increased sleep fragmentation in the associated night, even after controlling for multiple potential confounders.” Taking alcohol in the evening before bed had an adverse effect on sleeping patterns, but nicotine had the worst effect on the participants’ sleep.

For participants who took nicotine up to four hours before bed, their sleep was shortened by an average of 42.47 minutes. As a result, if you are looking to improve your sleep, you should consider limiting or giving up alcohol and nicotine before bed.

Listen to your body

Dr. Christine Spadola noted that they did not observe, “an association between ingestion of caffeine within four hours of bed with any of the sleep parameters." However, she added the caveat that everyone’s body responds to caffeine differently.

She added that, “Some people are very sensitive to the effects of caffeine and for these people it’s important to avoid drinking beverages containing caffeine too close to bedtime – but there is no golden rule about this, just listen to your body.”

She continued to say that, “If you have been drinking two strong black cups of coffee every evening for the past 40 years and you have just developed a sleeping problem, then it is almost certainly not the coffee.”

If you are struggling to sleep, it might be worth reassessing your nightly routine. Perhaps instead of a cigarette and nightcap before you turn in, you should try opting for a tea or coffee. Additionally, if you enjoy a late-night workout or need to work late, you can rest assured that using a Reon Energising Powder Shots late in the evening will have little impact on your sleep.

Interested in learning more about caffeine, your body, and wellness? Check out our other blogs.