Better Sleep Tips: Be Smart About Caffeine

By Dr. Anuj Chandra, Advanced Center for Sleep Disorders

October 1, 2020 — You’ve probably heard this advice before, but you should really take it to heart: if you have trouble sleeping, don’t drink too much caffeine, especially in the afternoon or evening. The way caffeine affects sleep is not always as simple as “more caffeine = trouble falling asleep.” Sometimes, you might fall asleep easily, but caffeine keeps you from sleeping deeply or makes you wake up more often during the night.

Caffeine Control Tips

Reduce it. If you have trouble sleeping, limit your caffeine to no more than 200 milligrams a day. That’s about two 8-oz cups of average brewed coffee. Be warned: Starbucks coffee is generally stronger — about 180 mg in a “short” (8 ounces) and 260 mg in a “tall” (12 ounces). And barista drinks can have much more caffeine.

Even a little less helps. No matter how much you’re consuming, reducing the amount — even just a little — can help you sleep better.

Schedule it. Avoid any caffeine after lunch. Or if noon is already your usual limit, try stopping by 10 a.m.

Consider all sources. Caffeine is not just in coffee, tea, soft drinks, and energy drinks. It’s also in chocolate, protein bars, and some over-the-counter pain relievers. Remember that decaf coffee has less caffeine, but not zero. Sometimes, there’s even enough coffee to affect your sleep in coffee-flavored ice cream.

If you need help with your sleep, call us at (423) 648-8008.

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