Of all the substances that humans use to enhance, alter, suppress, and avoid various aspects of our existence, caffeine is one of the most impressive. Is that troubling to know? you literally can’t function as an adult without the tension of caffeine? Sometimes, sure. But for most of us, caffeine is a relatively harmless pick-me-up with very few downsides.
Except when it comes to sleep. Caffeine is good effective stimulant, and it can have a negative effect on your sleep if you have a lot of it. Studies have shown that large amounts of caffeine at least six hours before you go to bed it can make it harder to fall asleep and reduce the quality of sleep you get. For those of us with mild sleep problems, the solution is usually to stop drinking caffeine at a certain point during the day—which would be a great strategy, if it weren’t for all the surprising places you find caffeine. these days.
How much is too much?
We are all different, but most people can consume about 400 milligrams things every day no measurable damage; for reference, the average eight-ounce cup of coffee has close to 100 milligrams of caffeinemost energy drinks have about 70-75 milligrams, tea has closer to 50 milligrams, and colas have about 22 milligrams (there are, of course, examples of each with more or less).
When we think of caffeine, we think of the obvious culprits: Coffee, tea, soda, chocolate, and anything that uses those things as an ingredient. When it comes to sleep, a few milligrams of caffeine in a cookie or a bowl of cereal probably won’t disrupt your sleep—but if you’re having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, check to see if you’re accidentally giving yourself caffeine with some of the surprisingly caffeinated food.
Caffeine is often used to increase the effect of pain relievers such as acetaminophen (the main ingredient in Tylenol). The effective dose of caffeine in pain relievers is usually more than 100 milligrams (although some pain relievers that include caffeine use less), so popping a few pills before bed to relieve a stiff back or headache to get you to sleep can be counter-productive. productivity, because you may be drinking a cup of coffee’s worth of caffeine.
Some orange soda and root beer
If you’re like me, you grew up thinking that the rule of thumb for caffeine and soda is that colas = caffeine, citrus = no caffeine. But, surprise! Some orange-flavored sodas do in fact contain caffeine. Sunkist Orange Soda, for example, has 19 milligrams of caffeine per 12 fluid ounces. That’s not a huge dose, but if you drink a few sodas a few hours before bedtime, it adds up. Similarly, while most root beers are caffeine-free, some brands, such as Barq’s, contain about 22 milligrams of caffeine per 12 ounces. In other words, it’s always worth checking before you blow that open.
Several flavors of water
If you’re someone who hates drinking plain old water and always opts for a spice to spice it up, you can assume there’s no caffeine in sight. And you’d probably be right—although some flavored (and unflavored) water brands advertise added caffeine, they’re easy to avoid. One way to trip you up in the water arena with flavor is when euphemisms are used. If the name of your flavored water includes terms like “energy” or “boost,” double check the ingredients list.
You can also get a clue from those ingredients—like coffee flavored energy bars often containing a lot of caffeine, flavored waters with coffee or teas in their formulation can pack a punch even if they’re not advertised as caffeinated. For example, the AHA brand of flavored water has three products that include black or green tea in their formulation, resulting in a dose of about 30 milligrams of caffeine. That’s not a many of caffeine, but it adds up.
Green tea isn’t as strong as black tea, but that doesn’t mean it’s caffeine-free. Your typical green tea contains about 25 milligrams of caffeine per eight ounces (Specific types of green tea or formulations that use it have different amounts, from 12 milligrams to 75 milligrams or more). Bottom line: If you’re craving a soothing cup of green tea before bedtime, check again before you brew.
Despite being a tea, most people don’t associate kombucha with caffeine. But most kombucha contains small but noticeable amounts of caffeine, between eight and 14 milligrams. That’s probably not enough to ruin your night on its own, but if you’ve already consumed a lot of caffeine during the day, it might be enough to push you over the edge. Similarly, if you enjoy a few too many cups before going in, you may find yourself staring at the ceiling for hours.
Sleep is essential to good health, so avoiding anything that might interfere with a good night’s rest is important. With some products, that requires a little detective work.