Caffeine could be your favorite energy booster, but have you ever thought that it could have disastrous impacts on your health? Well, it comes as an eye-opener. A study conducted on the consumption of caffeine before bedtime suggest that it could have devastating impact on the circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythm or your body’s internal clock goes beyond being the sleep and wake cycle. It is present throughout your body, in your muscles, liver, heart, and brain. The slightest upset to this clock has proven to be the cause of various lifestyle disorders, including obesity and diabetes.
Caffeine At Night: A Study
It is quite natural for a person to reach out to a cup of steaming coffee to keep himself awake during the long nights. You know that coffee will keep you awake, but you were not aware of how it does. And, this study revealed something very interesting.
When you have caffeine shots at night, it forces the circadian rhtym controllers of the body to extend your sleeping time. And, when your body is active, the sleep hormones are not secreted. In short, you could remain active till the power of caffeine starts wearing out.
Every cell in your body, as mentioned above, has its own biological clock which maintains all its activities including the cell’s sleep and wake cycle. And, in the process of keeping yourself awake, you unknowingly disrupt this routine.
The study was conducted for more than 49 days on five people. A few of the people were put on caffeine capsule that was equal to the dose of having a double espresso, three hours before they slept. The others were given a placebo pill. The people were also exposed to dim or bright light. The researchers noticed that the people who took caffeine experienced a delay in their circadian rhythm approximately by 40 minutes. This signals that caffeine has the potential to disrupt the quintessential circadian rhythm regulator.
According to Jamie Zeitzer, a sleep researcher and assistant professor at the Stanford University, caffeine has the potential to ensure that people remained alert by masking or curbing the sleep requirements. However, he also suggested that since the study group was considerably a small one, generalization of the findings is difficult.
So, What Is The Next Step?
There are pros and cons for this study. While the research seems to make some sense that caffeine, indeed, is harmful, the need for research to be conducted on a large group makes it a little confusing. Coffee aficionados were already aware of the fact they should not be treating themselves to a fabulous cup of Espresso from their favorite coffee shop if they have to remain energetic the next day.
One of the best ways to avoid the negative impacts of caffeine is to cut down its consumption before you hit bed. Restrict your coffee to your mornings. 3 pm – that should be the ideal time for the last cup of your favorite coffee for the day. Once you are able to overcome your addiction for caffeine during the night, you might be able to sleep and wake up earlier.
Since caffeine has the potential to delay the circadian clock, the study gives a possible positive implication on the use of caffeine – to overcome jet lag. According to Zeitzer, use of caffeine as an antidote for jet lag “needs to be done judiciously and only in those people in whom caffeine does not have a negative impact on sleep.”
Each person has a different circadian rhythm and sleep cycle. So, you cannot always blame caffeine if a person is experiencing poor sleep and wake cycles. Your lifestyle could be the leading cause of your lack of sleep.
Caffeine is not as bad it seems to be. When used in the right way, it could improve your concentration and keep your energy levels high. It could even help in burning fat quicker. The key is to use judiciously.
What are your thoughts about consuming caffeine? Share with us!