Hi, I’m Dr. Steph Pinnow, your chiropractor for sleep from Noble Choice Chiropractic, talking to you today in this video about caffeine.
Some of you can’t live without it. Some of you don’t really care. Me personally, I’m not a big caffeine person. I don’t like coffee. I don’t like tea. I think they all taste way too weird and bitter, but, apparently, I’m one of the weird ones. At least that’s what I’m told every time I say this fact about myself.
Doesn’t matter the way you feel about it. If you love it, if you hate it, you can’t live without it, the only thing that really is the same between those camps of people is that it affects your brain the same way.
So, there’s a lot of research behind caffeine. There’s a lot of scientific talk about it, in terms of receptors and how it attaches to certain receptors, it blocks sleep. All that you need to know is when it’s time to go to bed your body emits a sleep signal. This sleep signal is actually blocked by a chemical, known as caffeine.
That’s not new, right? Everybody knows that caffeine helps keep you awake, or it wakes you up. That’s why you drink it or eat it, or however you get it into your system.
So, the thing about caffeine is it’s very popular. Almost as popular as oil, actually. It is the second most traded commodity in the world, just behind oil. So, how does caffeine work? You might realize that if you are drinking a cup of tea or a cup, let’s be real, a lot of people don’t even drink just a cup, but let’s pretend you’re just drinking one single cup.
We need to talk about half-lifes. So, in the science world, a half-life, and this has to do with a lot of drugs. You’ll hear about half-life in pharmaceuticals. But the half-life is measuring how long it takes for your body to clear 50% of a certain substance from it.
In terms of caffeine, caffeine has a half-life of five to seven hours, which is a long time. So, that means if you’re drinking your one cup of coffee at 7:30 in the morning, at 1:30 in the afternoon you still have half of the substance left to clear from your body. The other thing you need to know about caffeine is when you drink it or eat it, however, again, you get it into your system, it will peak after about 30 minutes, and then start dissipating from your system.
So, a lot of times when I think about caffeine I think of coffee and tea, again, gross, but it’s in things that I like, like dark chocolate. It’s also in energy drinks, obviously. And a lot of times caffeine is in foods, especially people that are trying to lose weight and using a lot of those diet pills. A lot of times that has caffeine in it.
The thing about coffee and tea is you can’t be fooled by the whole decaf term because decaf still has about 15 to 30% of a normal dose of caffeine. It’s not completely caffeine free. There’s a difference between decaf and caffeine free.
How does this affect sleep? So, like I said, the half-life of caffeine is five to seven hours, which means, and a lot of people don’t realize that if you’re going to bed at, you know, 10:00 at night, you still might be feeling some of the effects of caffeine, depending on how sensitive you are.
So, caffeine is actually cleared from your body through an enzyme that your liver produces. Now, some people, like I said, are very sensitive to caffeine. They will drink a cup of coffee and be up until 11:00 at night. Other people are those ones that will take a shot of espresso and go to sleep, like that.
There’s a lot of different factors in terms of caffeine sensitivity. There’s age, how quickly this enzyme is produced, and then also, different medications that you’re taking. Those all have a play into how sensitive you are to caffeine, but in general, poor sleep does have to do with the amount of caffeine that you are ingesting into your body.
Even if you take, like, a 3:00 pick me up, you know, after lunch, that’s gonna wreak havoc on your system later on at night. All right, back to the liver enzyme. If you’ve heard of a caffeine crash before, that’s what happens when your liver successfully clears out all the caffeine from your system.
That means that that sleep signal that was muted before from the caffeine is coming on full send, and you are going to feel intense sleepiness right away. That’s when you start to get that exhaustion part. Sometimes people that feel that caffeine crash will then supplement with more caffeine and the cycle starts over and over.
I’m not here to bad mouth caffeine. I just want you to be very aware of what happens to your body, what happens to your brain, what happens to your sleep when you are having caffeine in your system?
So, like I said, some people are super sensitive. If that’s you, you might want to switch to a lower caffeine, decaf, or even try to eliminate it completely if you notice that your sleep is not very good at night. A lot of times this caffeine crash and this caffeine cycle can mimic insomnia, which a lot of people are struggling with.
All right, again, I’m not here to judge. Drink your coffee. Drink your tea. Do whatever you want to do, but make sure you understand how it plays a role in your brain and into your peaceful night’s sleep.