Raw Data

3 Ways Caffeine Impacts my Sleep

I love coffee. Since my introduction in first year of university, I’ve steadily been developing my addiction to caffeine. I am not ashamed to admit that I’m a coffee snob, and it’s not uncommon for me to walk past 10-20 cafes to seek out the perfect cup. I’ve reached a point where my 2-3 coffee per day habit seems ridiculous – and I’d like to break the cycle. My biggest focus over the past few months is increasing my morning energy, and I wanted to test the theory that my excessive caffeine intake leaves me with low energy in the morning. To test it out, I designed an experiment using the current draft of my NEqualsOne Journal.

Data Collection
I’ve been using my Basis Peak to provide data on my sleep, including:

  • Hours sleep
  • Sleep Score – a sleep efficiency rating, the higher the better
  • % Deep Sleep – the body refresh sleep phase
  • % REM Sleep – the mind refresh sleep phase

Each morning I recorded the number of caffeinated beverages I had the previous day, and my energy rating, as a score out of 5.
1 being no energy  – 5 being maximum energy (the goal!)

I checked in and found that the half-life of caffeine is somewhere between 4-6hours, so I assumed that it may take upto 2-3days before seeing a definite response.
My plan was to perform a B2B1AB1 trial, to ween myself off caffeine and then reintroduce it. Due to life, I was unable to stick with the zero caffeinated drinks rule during the time of the study. I continued the study, and recorded how many caffeinated drinks I had each day, to see what I could learn. The number I had each day was completely random by the end of the experiment.
As much as possible, I tried not to change anything else in my diet, supplements, exercise, or any other aspects of my life during the experiment. Any changes or fluctuations were effectively randomised throughout the experiment, due to the random number of caffeinated beverages I had each day.

Raw Data

Sleep Quality and Morning Energy Rating Raw Data throughout the caffeine self-experiment.

From the data I’ve collected so far, I have discovered that increasing my caffeine consumption leaves me with reduced energy levels the next morning. I’d like to expand the data and look at the effect of zero caffeinated drinks, so will include this in my next trial.

Impact of Caffeine on Energy

Impact of Caffeine on Morning Energy

Zooming in further on the impact of Caffeine on my sleep quality, I found it interesting that more caffeine was correlated with more REM sleep each night. This could be explained by more active mind during the day, requiring more mind refresh sleep to recover. As a result, this leads to reduced time left for Deep Sleep where muscles and other tissues repair. So it makes sense that increased caffeine may reduce the amount of time available for my body to repair, leaving me with less energy the next day. I need more data on days where I’ve consumed 1 caffeinated drink, and 3 caffeinated drinks.

Impact of Caffeine on Sleep

Impact of caffeine on sleep score, REM and Deep sleep.

I’ve noticed that regardless of the number of caffeinated beverages I have, I need to get at least 7 hours of sleep each night. An interesting finding was that over 9hours of sleep didn’t help improve my energy any further, but I actually started to see a decline. I’m currently averaging 7.5-8.5 hours, so this seems to be working for me and I won’t be making any changes.

Sleep Quality

Sleep Quality by Hours of Sleep. Regardless of caffeine, I need at least 7 hours sleep.

From my findings, I’ve decided to continue my caffeine experiment and focus more on one or even zero caffeinated beverages per day. Next time, I’ll also aim to stick to 2 or 3day blocks at the same caffeine dosage so that I get a clearer picture of the effect.

I’m anticipating  a few headaches during the come-down, but am willing to accept this if it means I learn something about my health. Increased energy in the morning would make it more likely to get up and go to the gym, work on my website, meditate, and just generally start my day with a bang!

I’d love to know how caffeine impacts you, leave a reply, tweet @optimlslfhealth, or email brett@optimalselfhealth.com

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