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Cut Caffeine for Better Sleep

If you are having trouble falling asleep, take a close look at how much caffeine you are consuming in the afternoon and evening; it may be the culprit.

The reason you feel sleepy is because of a neurotransmitter in the brain called adenosine. The longer you stay awake, the more adenosine accumulates in the brain, and the sleepier you feel. Caffeine blocks the effects of adenosine, meaning it decreases your sleepiness.

Bradley Keith Bittle, MD, FCCP, D-ABSM
Bradley Keith Bittle, MD, FCCP, D-ABSM

“Caffeine affects different people in different ways,” says Bradley K. Bittle, MD, FCCP, D-ABSM, pulmonologist and sleep medicine physician at Saint Francis Medical Center. “Some people have higher levels of alertness, which means that caffeine will cause them to be even more awake at night. Others can fall asleep easily, even when they drink caffeinated coffee in the evening.”

If you are having sleep problems, try cutting out soda, coffee and other caffeinated beverages after noon.

For more information, call the Sleep Disorders Center at 573-331-5837.

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