Drinks to avoid before bedtime

Help for better sleep
Drinks on table at night with candles burning

Want to know which drinks you should avoid before bed? Here's the round-up:

Coffee – obviously. A 250ml cup of coffee can contain 80-130 milligrams of caffeine, definitely enough to wake you up.

Tea – normal tea has almost as much caffeine as a cup of coffee, at 40-60 milligrams per cup. Green tea has caffeine has well at around 15 ml per cup. Most herbal teas are not caffeinated and are technically not tea (they’re more like a herbal brew). See our guide to the best herbal teas to drink before bed here.

Decaffeinated Coffee – did you know that decaf still contains caffeine? It does, and depending on the brand and type of bean used, that can be up to 12 milligrams per cup. That may not be enough to make you miss the whole night of sleep but people who are sensitive to caffeine might

Espresso Martini – the double whammy of caffeine and alcohol. These are best consumed as early in the evening as possible or better still – at lunchtime!

Red Bull – Just about the worst thing you can drink before attempting to sleep. The super sized 473ml cans of Red Bull contain a whopping 52g of sugar and the same amount of caffeine as four cups of coffee.

Energy drinks such as Red Bull and Monster also contain Taurine. You might think this is good, since Taurine is a chemical that has been reported to help people sleep. However, when you mix a low dose of Taurine with a large amount of caffeine (such as in Red Bull), the combination has the curious effects of inhibiting sleep to a greater extent than the caffeine alone.

The triple whammy in energy drinks is sugar. Consuming a large amount of sugar before bed causes your blood sugar levels to spike and your body to release hormones in order to rapidly bring these levels under control. This swing in hormones and blood sugar levels will cause you to wake frequently through the night and prevent you from falling into a deep sleep as your body processes these chemicals.

Soft Drinks - As above, any drink with a high sugar content will cause a swing in chemicals in your brain that will definitely interrupt your sleep.

Any type of alcohol - Anyone who consumes alcohol will know that it can often leave you feeling drowsy. In fact, many people drink alcohol at night thinking that it will help them to fall asleep. And it does, at first. But, it will definitely wake you up a few hours later, probably at the time of the night when you’d love to be enjoying a deep, restorative sleep. Say, around 3.00am.

If you really want to improve your sleep, try avoiding any of these drinks before bed. However, we know that's difficult sometimes. After all, there are times when a glass (or 3) of champagne is a must! If you do find yourself lying awake after a little indulgence we recommend that you try a few breathing and meditation techniques.

Of course, there is one drink that will actually improve your sleep. A glass of water is always a good idea before you go to bed to avoid waking up dehydrated.

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