The Effects of Caffeine on Our Body Clock

The intake of caffeine drinks such as coffee and tea has considered essential for some people to stay awake and more alert. This way, they tend to be more active and productive to accomplish all of their tasks throughout the day. While this is an advantageous trait, new research explains that drinking coffee at night can affect a person’s body clock.

Conferring to a study published in Science Translational Medicine, people who consume caffeine a few hours before their bedtime showcased a delay of over half an hour in their body’s circadian rhythms. To know more about caffeine and its effect, here are some of the things you should know:

Caffeine As A Stimulant

The most common identifier for coffee is that it is a stimulant. It keeps a person awake and attentive; hence, can make it difficult for someone to fall asleep at night when consumed before bedtime. According to Charmane Eastman, a behavioral neurologist at Rush University in Chicago, it puts changes in a person’s body clock; thus, alter the body clock even without the coffee intake.

The circadian system of the body knows the cues of its environment like sunrise and sunset, including changes in body temperature, and levels of hormones. Battling the circadian system and resisting its cues is extremely difficult for a person. Hence, the jet lag when there has been a long-haul flight and changes in the time zones and or shifting work shifts schedules.

Drinking coffee before bedtime is like changing shift schedule. The body can experience difficulties in falling asleep at the exact time or their desired bedtime.

Most caffeine drinkers consume coffee to encourage wakefulness. Caffeine has requisite adenosine receptors in the brain cells to cue release of excitatory neurotransmitters that keep a person awake and alert.

Caffeine Pills And How They Work

Caffeine pills are drugs that have a double espresso-effect equivalent. It was used in research by Kenneth Wright and his colleagues from the University of Colorado, Boulder, for a study to measure the levels of melatonin of a person.

Melatonin is the hormone that signals the inception of sleep of a person. The partakers were tasked to consume caffeine pills three hours before they usual bedtime. The study observed that there was at least 40 minutes delay before melatonin peaks to the participants.  

In another study by the same set of researchers and experts, they have exposed the same participants to bright light during bedtime at least three hours. This is known to delay the circadian clock of any individual. As an outcome, it was observed that the melatonin only peaks at roughly 85 minutes.

Combining the two factors and elements of sleep delay, it did not play any significant effect on melatonin production.

Adenosine And Its Relation To Body Clock

In another research by John O’Neill, he studied the human cells which indicate light pulses in late hours of the evening result to delay in sleep rhythm. On the other hand, light pulses in the morning can advance it. In other words, consuming caffeine in the morning could help your alertness, wakefulness, and the right harmonization of your body clock.

Thus, morning is the proper time for any caffeine. This way, you do not mess with your body clock. The more this internal clock is changing, the more it can also affect your metabolism that can also result in weight gain, and if left uncontrolled, obesity.

Too much caffeine intake, especially before bedtime, can result in loss of sleep. Not getting sufficient amount of sleep can also affect your immune system and may lead to sickness.

Sources of Caffeine

Caffeine is not just instituted in coffee, but it can also be present in several drinks like tea, soda, mate, guarana, and the like. Most caffeine nowadays has been innovated into different products or forms – candy, pills, and instant coffee, etc.

Since caffeine is more accessible to source out nowadays, it is more commonly found in foods and beverages such as energy drinks and sodas. Many people tend to make the mistake of consuming it in a very high dosage. Moreover, if not duly controlled, can result in several diseases and eventually lead to death when worsen.

This chemical empowers most athletes because it induces alertness and attentiveness, which they need to win a game, train, and stay active. Healthcare providers and professionals are also recommending caffeine for newborn breathing problems, to upsurge flow of urine, and to treat a headache after epidural anesthesia.

Right Caffeine Dose For Guidance

For oral-taking of caffeine, medical experts and researchers recommend:

  • 250 milligrams per day for headache treatment and mental alertness development
  • 150 to 600 milligrams daily for treating fatigue
  • 400 milligrams or more to prevent gallstone disease; and to also avoid Parkinson’s Disease in men

Remember that in one cup of brewed coffee, you can get at least 95 to 200 milligrams of caffeine. In an eight-once black tea serving, you can have approximately 40 to 120 milligrams of caffeine, 15 to 60 milligrams from green tea, and at around 20 to 80 milligrams per 12-ounce servings of soft drinks or soda drinks. Sports energy drink, on the other hand, give 48 to 300 milligrams of caffeine depending on the portion.

Too much caffeine intake can result in palpitations and nervousness. Hence, taking it should be in moderation. If such symptoms occurred and kept on recurring even in the absence of caffeine, you must consult a healthcare professional.

Conclusion

Caffeine could be considered as part of everyone’s life, but it is necessary to think about its effect and life-long discourse. For more effective and non-evasive results, consuming caffeine in the morning is advisable. By which, it would not affect the body’s internal watch.  

More so, caffeine intake (coffee, as an example) should be avoided as advised by a physician in case of several underlying diseases or symptoms like palpitations and constant nervousness. Drinking coffee three hours prior to your bedtime can affect your snoozing hours significantly.  

References:

https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/how-caffeine-affects-the-body-clock-34819

https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-979/caffeine

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