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A recent study suggests that drinking coffee a few hours before going to sleep may throw you body’s internal clock out of sync in the blink of an eye. As a result, the next day you may experience the same effects of jet lag including sluggishness, fatigue, and lack of concentration.
Study authors explained that the main culprit of these symptoms is caffeine. On the other hand, the recent study didn’t analyze coffee’s effects on the internal clock when the dark brew is consumed throughout the day. So, more research needs to be done.
Yet, study authors are certain that coffee at night is not just an eye opener. It has deeper effects because it interferes with our circadian clock.
“It’s also pushing your [internal] clock later so you want to go to sleep later,”
noted lead author of the study Kenneth Wright Jr of the University of Colorado’s Department of Integrative Physiology.
Dr. Wright also explained that every cell of our body has an internal clock. His team was interested in finding what effects coffee consumption has on body clocks because previous studies had shown that caffeine had a disruptive effect on those clocks in many living organisms including mice, algae, and fruit flies.
During their study, researchers monitored five volunteers over the course of 49 days. Participants were asked to take a dose of caffeine three hours before going to bed or a placebo. The dose of caffeine was the equivalent of a double espresso.
Researchers learned that caffeine delayed the internal clocks of the participants by 40 minutes, while volunteers who were only exposed to bright light in an attempt to delay their circadian clocks had only a 20 minute delay.
Scientists explained that the effect of caffeine is significant if we take into account the fact that a double espresso is a rather small amount of coffee for most adults. The team believes that caffeine has a disruptive effect on how cells communicate which delays their internal clocks.
Jamie Zeitzer, a researcher with Stanford University who was not involved in the study, lauded the new findings because they reveal that caffeine just masks the need for sleep, yet the need is still there.
On the other hand, Dr. Zeiter noted that the study is too small to be applied to the general population. Additionally, caffeine is not more effective than bright light therapy used in treating jet lag or shift work.
But the results confirm what many coffee fans already knew – it is better not to drink coffee late at night if you want to wake up fresh the next day. Scientists recommend either removing coffee from diet or drink it in the morning if you want to wake up and go to sleep earlier.
Image Source: Wikipediar
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