The secret to a great night's sleep

How does caffeine affect sleep?

Caffeinated drinks have grown hugely in popularity over the past decade. Whether it's sipped in a coffee shop watching the world go by or drank on-the-go in a Christmas cup, there's no doubt in believing lots of us run on caffeine. However, for those who find it difficult to get a solid eight hours, caffeine can become the biggest barrier to getting good, clean sleep.

What does caffeine do and how does it affect sleep?

Our sleep expert, Dr Nerina sheds some light on caffeine. "Caffeine acts very much like adrenaline so it revs up your sympathetic nervous system and increases the 'noise' of REM sleep". The half-life of caffeine is around five hours meaning you could have one cup of coffee at 5pm and still have half the caffeine in your system by 10pm. The best time to have a cup of coffee is between 10am and 12pm and also 2pm to 5pm.

Caffeine can make us more anxious and jittery too. If you're prone to anxiety disorders or panic attacks, it is important to decide when too much caffeine is too much and begin to go about breaking the caffeine habit.

If you can't resist a cup of coffee, we recommend you drink no more than four cups per day or, switch to decaf.

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