We’ve all been there—we’re up late working on a project or trying to finish a paper, and we need an extra boost to help us power through. So we make a pot of coffee, sit down at our desks, and start chugging. But then we start to worry— is it bad to drink coffee at night? Will drinking coffee keep us up even later?
The good news is that you don’t have to worry about those late-night coffees impacting your sleep. In fact, according to one study, coffee can actually improve sleep quality. However, there are a few things you should keep in mind if you’re going to be drinking coffee at night.
Drinking Coffee at Night Won’t Keep You Up
Contrary to popular belief, drinking coffee at night won’t keep you up any later than you would otherwise stay up. Caffeine has a half-life of 5 hours, which means that after 5 hours, your body will have metabolized half of the caffeine you consumed. So if you drink a cup of coffee at 8 pm, by 1 am, your body will have metabolized half of the caffeine and feel less alert.
Of course, everyone metabolizes caffeine differently, so if you find that caffeine does impact your sleep, it’s best to cut back or stop consuming it after 2 pm. And if you’re particularly sensitive to caffeine, it’s best to avoid it entirely in the evening.
Coffee Can Actually Improve Sleep Quality
Interestingly enough, coffee can actually improve sleep quality—at least in the short term. One study found that people who drank caffeinated coffee were more likely to report feeling rested the following morning than those who didn’t drink any coffee. So if you’re looking for an extra boost of energy to help you power through the night, coffee may be just what you need. Just be sure not to drink too much; too much caffeine can have the opposite effect and make it harder to fall asleep.
Things to Keep in Mind When Drinking Coffee at Night
If you’re going to drink coffee at night, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, avoid drinking too much caffeine; as we mentioned before, too much caffeine can make it harder to fall asleep. Second, try to limit your intake of sugary foods and drinks; the sugar can give you a quick burst of energy, but it will also lead to a crash later on.
In the end
If you find yourself up late working on a project or finishing a paper and in need of an energy boost, there’s no need to worry—a cup of coffee won’t keep you up any later than you would otherwise stay up. In fact, coffee may even improve sleep quality in the short term. Just be mindful of how much caffeine you’re consuming and cut back or stop altogether if you find that it’s impacting your sleep.