How To Sleep After Drinking Coffee

Stay awake, drink more coffee.
How To Sleep After Drinking Coffee
Tom Greenspan
December 21, 2022

As a reader-supported website, we're able to keep it free. Buying something through a link on this page might earn us commissions. Thanks for that.

Are you a coffee lover? Especially in the morning but also at night? You are not alone. Whatever the reason, coffee will keep you up.

After drinking coffee, go for a light walk in the evening after your dinner to get to sleep. Taking a warm bath after drinking coffee and reading a book will improve the likelihood of you falling asleep.

Why Do We Stay Awake After Drinking Coffee?

Billions of people around the world enjoy coffee every day. However, coffee is a powerful stimulant; well, the caffeine in coffee is a powerful stimulant.

Caffeine enhances mood, sharpens reactions, and enhances cognitive abilities by affecting the central nervous system.

This is great news until we drink too much coffee or drink coffee late afternoon or early evening.

Caffeine Facts

You’ll find many facts about caffeine. Here are some standout ones:

  • Drinking caffeinated drinks elevates our mood due to the adenosine receptors being blocked.
  • Caffeine increases alertness, so if consumed at night, it can prevent sleep or prolonged sleep.
  • Caffeine’s potency is measured in half-lives and which is 6 hours. So, if you drink a can of soda at 6 pm, only half the caffeine will be gone from your body.
  • Dark chocolate can contain caffeine and act in the same way as any of the products above.

Too Much Caffeine

Too much coffee stimulates our brain and body, keeping us awake. When caffeine hits the brain, it blocks Adenosine receptors responsible for releasing melatonin, the hormone that makes us sleepy.

Regarding the question of how much is too much coffee, the US FDA and the renowned Mayo Clinic have published official figures.

  • The amount of caffeine to be consumed is 400 milligrams per day. 
  • This equated to 4 to 5 cups of coffee each day.

Caffeine figures also apply to sodas with caffeine content, and that number is 10 cans per day. This seems a little excessive since cans such as Red Bull have half the caffeine of a cup of coffee.

Official figures may be erring on the side of caution and moderation.

Mood Enhancer

Due to caffeine's mood-enhancing properties, we can easily overdo it by having more than one cup of coffee instead of just one. This leaves the fight-or-flight hormones to run wild in our system, making us feel invincible and euphoric.

Adenosine keeps us from becoming hyper. By blocking the adenosine receptors for a few hours, those signals that make us feel relaxed are not received.

How Long Do the Effects of Coffee Last?

For the following reasons, there is no precise answer to this question. Have you been drinking espresso shots? How much caffeine is in coffee beans?

In other words, we never really know how much caffeine we are consuming when we drink coffee.

Scientists, however, measure caffeine's effects in half a life. The caffeine in an average cup of coffee has a half-life of almost 6 hours, which is 12 hours for it to leave your system.

Taking this information and comparing it to how many cups of coffee we have consumed throughout the day, it becomes clear why we have difficulty sleeping.

We build up a certain tolerance and resistance to coffee over time, so we may need to drink more robust coffee to feel the full caffeine energy boost.

Is Coffee Responsible For Your Sleep Problems?

If you think your sleep troubles are solely due to coffee, think again. Especially black tea, in particular, may contain more caffeine than your average cup of coffee.

Energy drinks and sports drinks contain large amounts of caffeine to boost an individual's performance and mood during exercise.

How About Decaffeinated Coffee?

Decaffeinated coffee and how it is made have sparked much controversy. The question remains, can you sleep after decaffeinated coffee? 

The answer is, decaf coffee still contains caffeine. The amount depends on the manufacturers.

When decaffeinated coffee is produced, the chemical Ethyl Acetate is added to strip away the caffeine. However, not all of the caffeine is stripped away.

Significantly less than standard coffee, but the residual amount could be sufficient to keep you awake at night.

Caffeine is a potent stimulant with a half-life of up to 6 hours. Even a decaf a night could keep you up if you're sensitive to the effects of caffeine.

How To Sleep After Drinking Coffee

This is the million-dollar question, but there are things you can do to improve your chances of a good night's sleep after drinking coffee.

As a first consideration, try to avoid drinking coffee after lunchtime if possible; if not, stop your caffeine intake by 3 pm; by 9 pm, the stimulation effects of coffee will be reduced by half.


Light exercise will help you sleep. A walk for 30 minutes is proven to help with sleep and, of course, keeps you fit.

Strenuous exercise like long runs or sprinting can have the opposite effect due to the adrenaline and cortisol release.


Light yoga workouts are the perfect way to stretch out the stresses of the day and relax your muscles. It is important not to overexert yourself. Overexertion is detrimental to sleep, and you will lose the benefits of the exercise and the whole purpose of doing Yoga in the evening.


So many folks overlook meditation as a way to enhance sleep. However, it is the best way of placing ourselves into a state of sleepiness.

Meditation will relax your mind and reduce stress which helps with sleep.

You can include several poses with meditation that have yoga-type qualities to relieve stress from the muscles.

Avoid Alcohol

There's nothing wrong with a glass of your favorite tipple before bedtime, and some tipples have health benefits as well as helping you sleep.

When alcohol is mixed with caffeine, the caffeine can mask the depressant effects of alcohol, so drinkers feel more alert than they would otherwise. Thus, they may drink more alcohol and become more impaired than they realize, increasing the risk of alcohol-related harm.

Soft Techniques For Inducing Sleep

What do I mean by soft techniques? Even if you are not the type to walk after work or the weather makes it impossible to go out, you can use other techniques to help you relax and sleep.

Read a Book

Reading before bed makes our eyes heavy and removes the stressful thoughts from our minds which may have built through the day.


Create an environment conducive to sleep. Remove electronics and don't take your work into the bedroom. Emails can be replied to in the morning.

A comfortable mattress or topper will help support your body when combined with pillows that offer support to the head and neck.

You can compare the best mattresses in our Mattress Comparisons. 


Don’t eat too close to bedtime. When you eat, your digestive system works to digest the food. If you eat too close to bedtime, your muscles are all working hard to keep that food moving, making it harder for your body to relax and sleep. Eat earlier in the day, so your digestive system doesn’t have to work so hard to digest the food.

Warm Bath

Spending half an hour or more in a warm bath before bedtime is a great way to relax. If you listen to some music or converse with your partner, this will keep the thoughts in your head and allow you to sleep well.

Essential Oils

Essential oils in the bedroom have therapeutic remedies for sleep disorders and give your sleep environment an overall relaxing element.

Choose your favorite essential oils. Lavender is known for its benefits when it comes to inducing sleep.

Relaxing Music

Listen to soothing and sleep-inducing music. Some great tracks are suitable for soothing.

Avoid using earbuds or headphones if possible, but if you have to, use headphones. They are comfortable if you fall asleep while listening.

Can You Have A Coffee Addiction?

Caffeine in coffee is addictive, and if you become resistant to coffee and need more robust coffee, perhaps you should change to espresso shots to satisfy your caffeine needs.

Symptoms of addiction include:

  • Being restless
  • Talking in a rapid manner and the inability to pay attention
  • Twitches and tremors of the fingers
  • Overloaded with energy
  • Palpitations
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Unable to rest and sleep.

Caffeine withdrawal symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Overtired but can't sleep
  • Low mood
  • Low energy levels
  • Craving for coffee or other caffeine sources like energy drinks
  • Dreams and nightmares about coffee.


Like most things you enjoy in life, the key to enjoying these products is to use them in moderation.

Enjoy the enhanced cognitive benefits for your work meeting and use the performance benefits to your advantage, but all in moderation.

Final Thoughts

If your sleep is affected, try the techniques in this article. A combination of reducing your coffee intake and ditching coffee in the evening is your best solution. 

We all love a Cup Of Joe, so moderation is key! Catch you in the following article.