Coffee addicts are well aware that, despite the undeniable energy-boosting elements their favorite brew has to offer, caffeine is a drug that affects the entire body's functionality. This isn't to say one cup will send you into overdrive, but excess consumption will ultimately do more harm than good, especially when your last cup of the day interferes with your sleep cycle. The latest time you can drink coffee before bed will ultimately depend on when you'd normally turn in for the night, but experts generally suggest you stay away from caffeine anywhere from six to eight hours prior.
Anytime you sip coffee, the stress hormone cortisol is stimulated and hinders melatonin, which effects your sleep. Michelle Miller, Physio Logic's Clinical Nutritionist, MSACN, told Elite Daily,
Give yourself six to eight hours without caffeine before bed. If you're someone who feels your caffeine- sensitive, then aim for 10-12 hours without caffeine before bed, or opt for decaf. Always go for high-test or organic coffee when possible. This will filter out of your system more efficiently than commercial brands, allowing you to wind down sooner.
In other words, how late in the day someone can drink coffee is circumstantial.
Unfortunately, the most efficient way to determine how much time you need in between your last cup of coffee and bedtime to ensure a good night's sleep is through pure trial and error.
In a 2013 study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, scientists from the Sleep Disorders & Research Center at Henry Ford Hospital and Wayne State College of Medicine found that participants administered 400 milligrams (roughly four cups) of coffee anywhere from zero to six hours before bed experienced sleep disturbance.
Aside from the inconvenience of insomnia, caffeine can also mess with your digestive track by increasing the amount of acid in your stomach, leading to heartburn or illness. It can even interfere with your circulatory and respiratory systems as it increases blood pressure.
Good luck having sweet dreams under those circumstances.
However, there are people who are only slightly, if at all, affected by caffeine.
When I was an undergrad, there would always be a paper to-go cup stationed alongside my open laptop late into the night. I'd mindlessly sip black coffee with creamer through each transitional phase of temperature from steaming hot, to lukewarm, to practically chilled in order to keep my internal clock ticking as I finished every term paper.
These days caffeine has no effect on me whatsoever, aside from the occasional stomachache. And, apparently, I'm not alone in this.
In October 2014, Marilyn Cornelis, PhD and assistant professor in Preventative Medicine-Nutrition at North Western University, linked six new genetic variations to coffee consumption. In other words, it was determined that how a body reacts to caffeine will ultimately depend on its biology.
What is interesting about coffee is that it's been linked to potentially adverse and potentially protective effects, says Cornelis. People want to know if coffee is good or bad for them. The answer will depend on the individual. By accounting for genetic markers of response, we can try to make personalized recommendations for coffee consumption.
I guess I can thank and resent my genetic makeup for dubbing me immune to the energy-boosting effects of caffeine.
To beat an addiction, take baby steps.
Dr. Frank Lipman, integrative medicine expert and founder and director of Eleven Eleven Wellness Center, Mind Body Green,
The best way to kick coffee is to taper off in small increments so as not to trigger the junkie-like withdrawal symptoms (especially the headaches). The mission is to slowly dial down your caffeine consumption so your body can acclimate over time.
Those addicted to caffeine might feel inclined to pour themselves a cup later in the day. If this sounds all too familiar, try weaning yourself off your third, fourth, or even fifth cup of joe with either an alternative low in caffeine (think green or black teas), or gradually make the switch to decaf.