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Caffeine can have a disruptive effect on your sleep.

Sleep can be disturbed even when caffeine is consumed six hours before bedtime.

Avoiding caffeine after 5 p.m. can promote healthy sleep.

Late afternoon and early evening caffeine can disrupt sleep

Filed in
  • caffeine
  • Sleep hygiene
  • poor sleep

By Lynn Celmer  |  Nov 15, 2013
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That extra afternoon jolt of caffeine may be responsible for your tossing and turning at night.  New research looked at caffeine’s effects on sleep taken 0, 3, or 6 hours before going to bed.

The study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine involved 12 healthy normal sleepers. Researchers at Henry Ford Hospital and Wayne State University in Detroit looked at the effects of a given dose of caffeine taken at different times before sleep.

Results show that 400 mg of caffeine (about 2-3 cups of coffee) taken at bedtime, three and even six hours prior to bedtime significantly disrupts sleep. Even when caffeine was consumed six hours before going to bed, objectively measured total sleep time was dramatically reduced by more than one hour. However, subjective reports suggest that participants were unaware of this sleep disturbance.

“Drinking a big cup of coffee on the way home from work can lead to negative effects on sleep just as if someone were to consume caffeine closer to bedtime,” said lead author Christopher Drake, PhD.  He is an investigator at the Henry Ford Sleep Disorders and Research Center and associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences at Wayne State University in Detroit. “People tend to be less likely to detect the disruptive effects of caffeine on sleep when taken in the afternoon,” noted Drake.  He also is on the board of directors of the Sleep Research Society.

According to the authors, this is the first study to investigate the effects of a given dose of caffeine taken at different times before sleep.  The results suggest that caffeine generally should be avoided after 5 p.m. in order to allow healthy sleep.


  1. 1 Bravo 21 Nov
    Since the article says that sleep may be disrupted up to 6 hours after consuming caffeine, the logical thing to do is to subtract 6 hours from your normal bed time. And avoid caffeine beyond that time.
  2. 2 Waylon 15 Nov
    After 5 p.m. caffeine should be avoided assuming one goes to bed at what time??