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Many of us rely on caffeine to get us through the day, and a nightcap to help us wind down before bed. However, recent research has shown that consuming caffeine and alcohol can have a significant impact on our sleep, affecting both the quality and quantity of our rest.

Caffeine, a stimulant found in coffee, tea, and chocolate, can disrupt sleep by increasing alertness and delaying the onset of sleep. In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, researchers found that consuming caffeine six hours before bedtime significantly reduced total sleep time and increased the amount of time it took participants to fall asleep. In another study, participants who consumed caffeine four hours before bedtime experienced reduced deep sleep and increased nighttime awakenings.

Alcohol, on the other hand, is a sedative that can make you feel drowsy and help you fall asleep faster. However, research has shown that it can also disrupt sleep by increasing the number of nighttime awakenings and decreasing the amount of restorative deep sleep. A study published in the journal Sleep found that alcohol consumption before bedtime led to increased sleep fragmentation and decreased sleep efficiency, meaning that participants spent less time in restorative sleep.

It’s also worth noting that caffeine and alcohol can have different effects on individuals, depending on factors such as age, weight, and overall health. For example, older adults may be more sensitive to the effects of caffeine and may experience more disrupted sleep as a result.

So, what can you do to minimize the impact of caffeine and alcohol on your sleep? Experts suggest limiting caffeine consumption to earlier in the day and avoiding it altogether in the afternoon and evening. Similarly, it’s best to limit alcohol consumption and avoid drinking it in the hours leading up to bedtime.

Overall, being mindful of your caffeine and alcohol intake and understanding how they can affect your sleep can help you make healthier choices and enjoy better quality rest.


  • Drake, C., Roehrs, T., Shambroom, J., & Roth, T. (2013). Caffeine effects on sleep taken 0, 3, or 6 hours before going to bed. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 9(11), 1195-1200.
  • Landolt, H. P., Werth, E., Borbély, A. A., & Dijk, D. J. (1995). Caffeine intake (200 mg) in the morning affects human sleep and EEG power spectra at night. Brain research, 675(1-2), 67-74.
  • Ebrahim, I. O., Shapiro, C. M., Williams, A. J., & Fenwick, P. B. (2013). Alcohol and sleep I: effects on normal sleep. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 37(4), 539-549.
  • Roehrs, T., & Roth, T. (2001). Sleep, sleepiness, and alcohol use. Alcohol research & health: the journal of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 25(2), 101-109.