Is your afternoon pick me up robbing you of great sleep? It can. If you are in the habit of afternoon coffee to pick you up and keep you from napping in the office, that coffee could be stealing several hours of valuable deep sleep.
Deep sleep is the part of the sleep cycle where your brain goes through a nightly cleaning. Much like the dishwasher concept, your brain does the same thing every night. During the day, proteins build up on receptors in your brain. Deep sleep begins with a cleaning of those proteins. It helps reduce any kind of plague build-up that can slow your thinking and lead to dementia in older ages.
The caffeine in coffees, teas, and energy drinks can stay in your system for over 6 hours. Caffeine prohibits your brain from entering deep restorative sleep. A lot of times, you can still get light sleep, but light sleep does not “clean” your brain. Light sleep is just that, a very light portion of sleep that can still leave you feeling super tired the next day.
The best way to keep your sleep and still have an afternoon pick me up is to time your afternoon caffeine intake to at very least 6 hours before your bedtime. For most of us, 2 pm to 3 pm would be the latest we should be considering having that tea or coffee.