It’s almost midnight and you have to finish one more presentation for tomorrow’s early morning meeting.
So you do what you know you must avoid, you drink a cup of coffee and now it is way past midnight and you are too wired to sleep.
You’re probably thinking drinking a depressant like alcohol will cancel out the stimulating effect of caffeine, but chances are, you’re just in for a double whammy.
Believe it or not, there are ways on how to sleep after caffeine, which are easy to follow in case you can’t skip the late night upper.
The Effects of Caffeine on Sleep
Caffeine is a stimulant taken in the morning or when you need that burst of energy and alertness. It is definitely not a substance to be taken if you desire to sleep.
Caffeine goes into the bloodstream 15 to 20 minutes after it is taken and only half of it is eliminated in 6 hours. That is why in moderate amounts, it improves alertness that may lead to difficulty sleeping. Its other effects like frequent urination, fast heartbeat, and irritability can also cause sleep disturbances.
These are supported by a study that recommends taking caffeine at least 6 hours prior to bedtime.
How to Get Some Sleep Even after Caffeine
Here are some ways:
Drink a cup of warm milk. Milk is a source of the amino acid tryptophan that converts to serotonin that further converts to melatonin that helps with sleep. While this may not work for everyone, it is definitely worth a try.
Create a relaxing and sleep-inducing environment. You’re already pumped up from the caffeine so you have to make sure that your bedroom has a good sleep environment. This includes having an appropriate mattress that won’t give you body aches.
Also, keeping away of all possible distractions like phones, laptops, television, gaming console, and sometimes even pets. Dim or close your lights and make sure your room is cool enough.
Draw the curtains closed or use an eye cover to keep any hint of stimulating light away from your eyes. The lack of distraction will force your wired brain to take a breather because there is nothing to do anymore.
Exercise the “corpse” pose. If you have some knowledge of yoga, doing the “corpse” pose can help gently exercise your body to produce serotonin that aids with relaxation and sleep. Lie still on your back and feel the weight of your body as it succumbs to gravity. Breathe deeply and slowly. Do this to relax your body and slowly ease into sleep.
Have a chill pill. You do not have to take a real pill to chill.
Just practice to relax your mind by clearing out all the stresses and anxieties you have. Accept the fact that it’s late and do not watch the ticking of the clock. Sometimes, counting sheep can help or anything that do not require thinking.
You can imagine beautiful relaxing places and focus on the sounds of the wind, waves and birds. Before you know it, you’re asleep and dreaming.
20-minute coffee naps. If it can be avoided, it is best to keep away from caffeinated substances at least 6 hours before bedtime.
If you must take it to boost your alertness, take caffeine before your 20-minute nap.
Coffee naps work through proper timing of intake, absorption, sleep and effect. The process starts with the caffeine being absorbed by the intestine then going to the bloodstream then travelling to the brain where it locks with brain receptors to speed up nerve cell activity.
This process takes about 20-minutes, which you can use for a power nap and wake up in time when caffeine has kicked in.
Some studies even suggested that people can survive a 24-hour period with no proper sleep and just taking 20-minute coffee naps.
However promising these studies’ results are, it is still important to give sleep the importance it deserves.
Caffeine can only serve as temporary alertness but not as a complete replacement for proper sleep. Remember that lack of sleep has many negative effects and can sabotage your long-term productivity and overall well-being.