Caffeine, the largely unregulated central nervous system stimulant, is great for a quick boost. The world practically runs on it. But it may be disrupting your sleep, and you may not know it. Caffeine’s half life – the length of time it takes for ½ of the drug to be eliminated from your body, is around five hours for a typical person.
This can vary significantly though. In females on oral contraceptives it has been reported to be 10-11 hours. This means that when you drink two cups of coffee at lunchtime, you may have the caffeine equivalent of half a cup in your body at bedtime. Long after the kick is gone, caffeine is still in your system.
Caffeine can also sneak into your system. Did you know that dark chocolate, some pain relievers (Excedrin), and some non-cola sodas (Barq’s root beer) all contain caffeine? You may be surprised at the caffeine content of common food and drug items.
So should you cut out caffeine entirely? Let’s not get too crazy. Monitor your caffeine intake for a few days and experiment with the amount and timing of your consumption. You may be surprised at the results.