Caffeine is a drug. It comes in many food drinks and medicine, is colorless and lends very little flavor to whatever it is added to. When in its pure form it is white and bitter to the tongue.
Medically, caffeine is useful as a cardiac stimulant and also as a mild diuretic used to increase urine production. It is more commonly used to provide a boost of energy or heightened alertness. It’s often used to stay awake longer. College students and drivers use it to stay awake late into the night. Many people feel as though they cannot function in the morning without a cup of coffee to provide caffeine and the boost it gives them.
Caffeine is an addictive drug. It does many things including operating using the same mechanisms that amphetamines, cocaine, and heroin use to stimulate the brain. On a spectrum, caffeine’s effects are milder than amphetamines, cocaine and heroin, but it is manipulating the same channels, and that is one of the things that give caffeine its addictive qualities. If you feel like you cannot function without it and must have it every day, then you are addicted to caffeine.
Because of the physiological effects of caffeine, it has been linked to many sleeping disorders, mainly insomnia. Insomnia occurs when you have difficulty sleeping. Many can not sleep at all. Usually its effects last for only a few nights, but it is possible for the symptoms to continue for months and even years.
Insomnia can be caused by several factors, including psychiatric problems, continual stress, use of drugs or alcohol, a lack of exercise, excessive noise or light, and certain physical illnesses. However caffeine is the most common cause for this sleeping disorder.
If your sleep has been disturbed for more than a few weeks and interferes with your ability to function normally during the day, consult your doctor or make an appointment at a reputable sleep disorder to get some treatment.
Caffeine may also interrupt your normal sleep cycle. Caffeine directly affects your kidneys. It may cause kidney infections and/or urinary track infections. These infections may also cause difficulty sleeping. You may also have to get up several times in the night to relieve your bladder. This will cause interruption of your REM sleep cycle, therefore making you tired when you get up in the morning.
Reducing your intake of caffeine will reduce or eliminate this problem. Try switching to decaffeinated drinks. Caffeine does not change the flavor, so you should not notice anything different in the flavor. You may also consider drinking a glass of water before going to sleep at night to flush out your kidneys.
If you are already addicted to caffeine then you may want to consider doing the exact opposite. While giving up caffeine forever is the best option, it does not happen overnight. If you are addicted to caffeine there are ways to make caffeine work for you. Some people who have a caffeine addiction try drinking a cup of coffee about an hour before going to sleep. This usually mellows out their system. This works only because their body has become dependent on caffeine and requires it to function even in sleep.
If caffeine is still causing you problems when trying to sleep, there are other alternatives. You can try over the counter sleeping pills or even something as simple as warm milk. Over the counter sleeping pills have chemicals that make your body start to sleep. They can overpower caffeine and most other cause of sleeping disorders. Warm milk has lactic acid in it. When warmed, this acid releases a chemical that triggers your natural sleep cycle. Havent you ever noticed that a baby goes to sleep right after you feed it some warm milk?
Scientists have argued for years on weather or not caffeine causes sleeping disorders. They may never know for sure, but regardless of what they say, only you know what your body does. You can fix it if you just pay attention. Your body will tell you what it needs; it is up to you to deliver those needs. In the end, caffeine or not, you can make yourself have a normal sleep cycle.