3 cups of coffee

Is Your Addiction To Coffee Affecting Your Sleep Quality?

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Do you drink excess amounts of coffee throughout the day to keep your tired hypermobile body awake? But then find that you struggle to sleep at night? If so, it’s likely that coffee is affecting your sleep quality.

The National Coffee Association reports that the average person drinks just over 3 cups of coffee per day. Meanwhile, 3 in 4 say they drink coffee every day.

It’s not known how many people with hypermobility drink coffee regularly or how much they consume. But it’s safe to assume that there’s a lot of us who drink coffee to help us to stay awake and to give us an energy boost.

So, let’s find out how much of an issue this is and whether there’s a safe amount of coffee that us hypermobile folk can consume. 

Does coffee affect your sleep quality?

Tiredness and fatigue are two of the main symptoms of hypermobility. Waking up feeling unrefreshed is common. So how do you combat this? You reach for a mug of steaming coffee, of course! 

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one to do this. Even people without hypermobility do the same, according to researchers. One study found that feeling tired in the morning leads to increased coffee consumption. But the problem with this is that it impacts sleep quality at night and so a vicious circle begins.

So, just how badly does coffee affect sleep quality?

A lot, according to multiple sources. 

Sleep Education reports that drinking coffee can reduce your total sleep time by up to 1 hour. Coffee and caffeine also affects deep sleep and REM sleep. REM sleep is crucial for daily functioning. It helps memory, emotional processing, mood, and learning. 

Deep sleep is just as important, and even more so when you have hypermobility. When we’re in deep sleep, our bodies repair themselves. As hypermobility causes so much damage to our bodies, including micro tears, subluxated joints, soft tissue injuries, and more, deep sleep is needed to help us heal. 

Is coffee good for hypermobility?

There are pros and cons of drinking coffee. 

One of the biggest benefits of hypermobile people drinking coffee is that it contains vitamin B3, magnesium and potassium. B vitamins and magnesium are two supplements recommended for hypermobility.

Coffee has also been linked to a lower chance of developing some serious medical conditions, including:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Liver and endometrial cancers
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Depression

Despite the benefits of drinking coffee, there are downsides too, such as anxiety, palpitations, insomnia, dehydration, and addiction. But, one of the biggest risks is that coffee affects sleep quality.

How long does coffee affect sleep quality

Are you one of the 37% of people who have their first coffee at 5 pm or later? If so, there’s a good chance that it will affect your sleep quality.

The study ‘Caffeine Effects on Sleep Taken 0, 3, or 6 Hours before Going to Bed’ found that drinking caffeine up to 6 hours before bed had an impact on sleep. Other key findings included:

  • Having caffeine 6 hours before bed reduced total sleep time by 41 minutes.
  • Having caffeine 6 hours before bed increased the time it took to fall asleep by 50%.
  • Wake time during sleep increased at 0 hours, 3 hours, and 6 hours before bed.

Does caffeine before bed cause side effects?

Our bodies quickly absorb caffeine. As a general rule, the effects of caffeine will hit you about 25 minutes after drinking a coffee. As we’ve already seen, caffeine can stay in your system for hours. 

Caffeine increases alertness, reduces sleepiness, increases breathing, and speeds up your heart rate. None of these things will help you to get to sleep. 

Is it okay to drink decaf coffee before bed?

A typical cup of coffee contains 95 mg of caffeine. In comparison, a decaf cup of coffee contains just 2 mg of caffeine. So, decaf coffee before bed is a much safer option. 

The caffeine will still impact your body and there’s still a chance drinking decaf coffee will affect your sleep quality. But, this risk is much lower than it is with caffeinated coffee.

How to sleep after drinking caffeine

So, what if you’ve made the mistake of drinking coffee to get over your hypermobility-related tiredness?

The good news is that there are things you can do to encourage your body into a relaxed state so that you can get the sleep you need:

  • Wait it out – Caffeine’s effects peak within 1-2 hours after consumption and can last for several hours. Sometimes, the best approach is to simply wait for the caffeine to wear off. In the meantime, you can engage in relaxing activities to prepare your body for sleep.

  • Hydrate – Drink water to help flush caffeine from your system. Dehydration can exacerbate the stimulating effects of caffeine, so staying hydrated can help you feel better overall.

  • Practice relaxation techniques
    • Deep breathing – Take slow, deep breaths to calm your nervous system.

    • Progressive muscle relaxation – Tense and release each muscle group in your body, starting from your toes and working your way up to your head.

    • Meditation or mindfulness – These practices can help calm your mind and reduce anxiety.

  • Create a comfortable sleep environment – Make your bedroom as conducive to sleep as possible. Ensure your room is dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature.

  • Limit screen time – Exposure to screens (phones, tablets, computers, TVs) before bedtime can interfere with your ability to fall asleep. The blue light emitted by screens can disrupt your circadian rhythm. Try to avoid screens for at least an hour before bedtime.

  • Avoid stimulating activities – Don’t engage in activities that require a lot of mental or physical effort right before bed. Instead, read a book, take a warm bath, or engage in other relaxing activities.

  • Listen to calming music – research shows classical music, in particular, can aid sleep.

How much coffee is okay to drink

Less is more!

Although the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) says 4 to 5 cups per day is okay, this doesn’t take into consideration people with hypermobility and their unique needs. Firstly, we need more sleep than most people. Plus, the more restful our sleep is, the better we’ll feel and the more we’ll heal.

To enjoy the benefits of coffee without letting it affect your sleep quality, aim for 2 to 3 cups per day. Remember, to avoid drinking it too late in the day as well.

Author

  • Amy

    Amy lives with hypermobility spectrum disorder (HSD). She spent years not knowing what was wrong with her body, before eventually being diagnosed in her 30s. She has two young children - both of whom are hypermobile.