It turns out drinking tea or coffee before bed won’t actually affect your sleep, according to new research.
A group from Florida Atlantic University and Harvard Medical School recently studied a sample of 785 people across a grand total of 5,164 days and nights, recording how much caffeine, alcohol and nicotine they consumed before bed.
This data was then compared to results from sleep diaries and wrist sensors that had been recording the participants’ sleep duration and sleep efficiency.
To nobody’s surprise, they found that nicotine and alcohol both have a negative effect on the quality of a person’s sleep. Most notably, smoking a cigarette was found to knock 42 minutes off the total sleep of an insomniac. The same doesn’t apply to caffeine however, as a night time coffee or caffeinated tea was found to be harmless.
The study, published in the journal Sleep, also deduced that you’re best leaving at least 4 hours between your last cigarette and/or your final drink if you want an undisrupted slumber. Again, this doesn’t include coffee, because it is a saintly liquid.
Dr Christine Spadola of Florida Atlantic University writes in the journal: “Considering the public health importance of obtaining quality sleep and the widespread use of alcohol, nicotine and caffeine, relatively few studies have thoroughly investigated the association between evening substance use and sleep parameters.”
It’s important to note that some people are obviously more sensitive to caffeine than others, so this should all be taken with a pinch of salt. But if you’re a well-seasoned coffee addict, you needn’t worry about that caffeine hit affecting your kip. You can throw that decaf in the bin and hit the hay with a brew by your side, safe in the knowledge that you’ll drift off into a glorious, peaceful sleep.
To summarise: smoking = bad, alcohol = bad, coffee = good.
Sleep tight x
Oh and if you like debunking myths about what’s good for you and what isn’t, you’ll like this study that claims “eating cheese will protect you from all causes of death”. You’re welcome.
Also published on Medium.