These days there seems to be a Starbucks on almost every corner, and if not another type of coffee establishment. Then there is the astonishing increase in the number of energy drinks on the shelves starting with Red Bull. Why might that be? Well today’s society is fast-paced with the ever-changing technology and we need any edge and boost we can get to keep up. And so we reach for a beverage that will keep us awake and our mind active. But is relying on caffeine the best answer? Or would we better served to practice caffeine abstinence?
First, we need to understand that caffeine affects people in different ways. Some need less and some need more to produce the same effect. Add to the mix that caffeine is not just in coffee but tea, cola and energy drinks, foods such as chocolate, and even medications like pain relievers, weight-loss pills and cold relief tablets. For the most part, it takes about 60 minutes for caffeine to have its full effect on the body, which can last 4 to 6 hours. Caffeine takes almost a full day to be completely out of your system and even longer if you have a medical condition.
The following are the amounts of caffeine in each of these substances in an 8-ounce sample:
- Coffee: 65 to 350 mg, depending on whether or not it’s instant or brewed
- Tea: 50 to 70 mg
- Coca-Cola: 50 mg
- Red Bull: 80 mg
- Chocolate bar: 20 to 60 mg
- NoDoz: 100 mg
Click here for a more complete list of caffeine content.
Granted, caffeine will give people an immediate jolt of energy but it can also wreak havoc on your sleep habits. Difficulty falling asleep, waking up more often, decrease in deep sleep, and needing to visit the bathroom often are some of the downsides of caffeine usage.
Studies on Caffeine Abstinence
With all of the aforementioned, it is easy to see how we might benefit from caffeine abstinence. So are there any studies to prove the benefits of caffeine abstinence? A study published in Applied Nursing Research evaluated whether or not evening caffeine abstinence could improve sleep quality. The group discovered that there was no statistically significant difference with regard to sleep between an evening with caffeine and one restricted by caffeine abstinence.
In another study appearing in the Journal of Clinical Nursing, researchers also evaluated caffeine abstinence but this time is was throughout the day rather than only curtailing in the evening. The results by this group found that a whole day of caffeine abstinence statistically improved sleep quality. The researchers suggested that this practice be incorporated into the sleep hygiene practice of individuals who had issues in the quality of their sleep.