ALERT: NO CAFFEINE AFTER NOON HOW-TO
Before you start the Sleep30® Challenge by Sleep Number: a quick, but important, note about caffeine.
One of the first Sleep30® Challenge testers was a woman named Mary, who loved coffee so much she had a tattoo of a latte on her arm. You may feel like Mary. We want to be very clear: We’re not saying coffee or caffeine is bad. We’re saying the time of day at which you consume it absolutely affects your sleep quality. We’re here to help you sleep smarter while still enjoying caffeine.
Why does it matter what time you drink your last caffeinated beverage? The caffeine molecule competes directly with adenosine, an important neurotransmitter connected to sleep. Furthermore, it takes your body 8 hours to metabolize caffeine. So if you drink a latte or a caffeinated soda at 3 p.m., half the caffeine from that beverage is still circulating in your body at bedtime.
Our SleepIQ® data confirms sleepers who regularly drink caffeine after noon are less restful and sleep far less than those who never do. Those who regularly drink caffeine in the evening have 19 fewer minutes of restful sleep each night than those who never do.* Do this every day and those 19 minutes of poor sleep per night could add up to almost 115 hours of junk sleep per year!
If you’re drinking caffeine after noon, you’re all but guaranteeing you won’t get quality sleep. You may be so tired that you still fall asleep, but caffeine is going to disrupt your sleep and wake you up and/or disrupt your sleep cycles so you wake up more groggy.
CAFFEINE AFTER NOON = JUNK SLEEP
Don’t worry — your morning coffee can still be part of a healthy sleep life. We wouldn’t dream of taking away this important (and delicious) daily ritual. However, you’ll have to reduce and eventually eliminate caffeine consumption after noon over the next 30 days, starting on day one. You can always add it back in at program’s end. (But we hope you’ll feel so much better without it that you don’t.)
THE SLEEP30® CHALLENGE GUIDE TO SENSIBLY QUITTING CAFFEINE AFTER NOON
We don’t recommend going cold turkey. The side effects of caffeine withdrawal aren’t dangerous, but they may be uncomfortable and disruptive. If you gradually make changes then it’s very doable.
Goal: To eliminate caffeine after noon in 10–14 days
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
- Small notebook or app for tracking caffeine consumption
- Non-caffeinated replacement beverages like decaf tea, hot apple cider, juice, etc.
STEP 1: ASSESS YOUR CAFFEINE INTAKE
For the first three or four days, track all your caffeine consumption in a small notebook, on an app (like the SleepIQ® app), on your phone or in your sleep journal. Include caffeine from less obvious sources such as medications (like Excedrin), chocolate and other foods. There are websites that offer information on caffeine amounts.
If you own a Sleep Number® bed with SleepIQ® technology, click here for tips on how to track your caffeine as an activity in the SleepIQ® app to help you see how caffeine impacts your sleep.
STEP 2: BEGIN ELIMINATING CAFFEINE
Your elimination plan is individual to you and depends on your afternoon caffeine consumption. If you only have a single cup of coffee at 2:30 p.m., then you can start by making a goal to finish it by 1:30 p.m. Try that for a few days, gradually working your way to a noon end time. You should be down to noon in ten to fourteen days. If you have multiple caffeinated beverages throughout the day, then you want to start by eliminating the last cup of coffee or soda of the day. Skip the coffee with dessert.
STEP 3: REPLACE WITH NON-CAFFEINATED ALTERNATIVES
Your detox will be easier if you replace the caffeinated beverage with a non-caffeinated beverage you really enjoy. If your replacement choice is unsatisfying, then you’re less likely to make the switch. Treat yourself! Also, staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water may reduce headaches or other withdrawal symptoms that some people experience when cutting caffeine.
STEP 4: DO LIGHT EXERCISES
If you’re feeling crabby or low on energy, try taking a short walk, doing some easy yoga stretches, a one-minute plank, or even a handful of jumping jacks to hit the reset button.
STEP 5: GET SUPPORT
Tell your spouse or partner, your friends and coworkers that you’re cutting back on caffeine. Ask them to remind you to drink water, do some exercises and, most of all, remember that this too shall pass. The first few days of caffeine reduction are the worst, but it does get better.
Although it might be rough at first, having less caffeine in your system will eventually make you feel better. You’ll have a clearer mind, more energy and get better sleep. If Mary can do it. You can do it. You got this.
*Based on SleepIQ® data from 1/1/19 to 1/31/19
**Participant received InnerCircle loyalty points for doing challenge.