The latest you should drink coffee for a good night's sleep

·Features and Health Editor
·3-min read

When it comes to getting a good amount of quality shuteye, choosing to drink coffee, or any caffeinated drink too late in the day could have a big impact.

As managing Director of Sleep for Health Dr Carmel Harrington explains consuming coffee late in the day - that is anything after midday! - can be detrimental to your sleep at night.

woman drinking coffee during the day
Drinking coffee too late in the day is probably ruining your sleep. Photo: Getty

"If you want to get your sleep on track, quit the caffeine after midday and if you can't come to terms with cutting out coffee after midday, try substituting it with the decaffeinated variety instead," Dr Harrington told Bed Threads.

"This is especially important if you are in the over 35 age group because as we age, our metabolic rate slows so the coffee that didn't affect our sleep when we were younger could certainly be doing so now."

According to Healthline, other side effects caused by caffeine can include anxiety, stress, insomnia, digestive issues, fatigue, high blood pressure and rapid heart rate, but the impact of caffeine is always different depending on the person's caffeine tolerance.

person struggling to sleep
Too much caffein can impact the quality of your sleep. Photo: Getty

Sleep expert Dr Kieran Kennedy agreed saying caffeine and alcohol both have a similar effect on sleep.

"In much the same way as alcohol, even if we can fall asleep with caffeine in the system that doesn’t mean our sleep is at its natural best," Dr Kennedy told Yahoo Lifestyle previously.

"While we sleep, caffeine in the brain works to disrupt our normal rhythms and means we’re not getting the best bang for our sleep buck."

On World Sleep Day this year, Dr Kennedy also shared a few other things with Yahoo Lifestyle you can do to maximise your sleep.

Your bedroom temperature matters

Temperature at night is more than purely for comfort, it impacts how well the brain sleeps as well. It’s often surprising to people that science shows we sleep best when the surroundings are cooler, but if you think about where and how our early ancestors slept it makes a lot of sense.

In the hour or two before bed, try and cool things down, it helps the brain start to gear up for good sleep. Similarly, the bedroom and sleep space should ideally be on the cooler side and (regardless of how long you’re down for) this can bump sleep quality up.

sleeping woman
Try some of these tips from a sleep expert to make your sleep better. Photo: Getty

Get off your phone

During your winding down time, stay off any electronic devices - in a 21st-century world, this has to be sleep 101. Phones, TVs and tablets emit a whole lot of brain food that stimulates things to stay in wake mode rather than wind down.

Key as well is blue light from things like phones and screens that hit key areas of the brain powerfully to stop sleep-inducing neuro chemicals like Melatonin being released. While night mode for screens has been shown to help, this strategy - or blue light blocking glasses for that matter - isn’t as strongly evidenced as often made out.

Where you can, aim to have the phone away and the laptop closed at least 30 minutes before bedtime and ideally at least an hour before.

Let the light shine in

Quality sleep actually starts while the brain’s still awake, and so helping the brain shift into wake up mode in the morning is actually a helping hand for better sleep later that night as well.

Getting up and getting some bright (ideally natural) morning light is super helpful in this regard - it helps lock in circadian rhythms, prime the body clock for better sleep later on (always a win) and helps wake us up faster in the morning too.

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