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How To Counteract Caffeine Insomnia When You're Drinking Coffee Before Bed: Tips and Alternatives

Posted on December 17 2022


  • Caffeine is a stimulant found in many beverages and foods, including coffee, tea, energy drinks, and chocolate. Caffeine acts on the nervous system to increase alertness, focus, and energy levels. It can also lead to increased heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Caffeine has a half-life of around 4-6 hours. Therefore, it is best to stop drinking coffee for several hours before going to bed, as scientific evidence suggests caffeine can interfere with how deep and restful your sleep is.
  • Alternatives to caffeine drinks include herbal teas and decaffeinated coffee. If you're agitated or alert, a calming app like Pzizz may help you relax.


Everyone loves coffee. For many, it's more than a drink – it's part of their way of life. Visiting a coffeehouse with friends or taking a new love interest for a coffee are normal experiences. However, it's also become common for people to use coffee as a stimulant to get through periods of tiredness.

Perhaps you need to cram in extra revision for study, or you didn't get enough sleep last night and need your morning wake-me-up. No matter the case, our relationship with coffee can be troubling.

One of the side effects of drinking excess coffee is difficulty sleeping. Coffee can keep you awake if consumed too late at night or too close to bedtime. But don’t worry, in this article, we’ll tell you about the best ways to go to sleep after drinking coffee. 

But before we get into it, let us introduce you to the Pzizz app. Available on the Apple App Store and Google Play, Pzizz is a unique sleep and relaxation app backed by science. Using music, sound effects, and narration, Pzizz will guide you into getting a positive night’s rest. Try this app today if you’re having trouble falling asleep. 

What Is Caffeine?

Caffeine is an organic compound that naturally occurs in over 60 plants, such as coffee beans, tea leaves, and cocoa beans. It's a stimulant that can temporarily energize the body by increasing alertness and energy levels. It works by blocking the action of adenosine – a neurotransmitter responsible for making us feel tired when it binds to its receptors.

Caffeine has been consumed as part of beverages such as coffee or tea since 3500 B.C. Still, more recently, it has become widely available outside these drinks.

Some common products that contain caffeine include:

  • Coffee
  • Black Tea
  • Green Tea
  • Energy Drinks
  • Iced Coffee/Tea
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Soda

However, while these products may be the most obvious examples, many others contain caffeine you might not expect. For example, many pain relief medications contain caffeine, as do some weight loss pills, protein shakes, and sports supplements.

How Long Does It Take for Caffeine to Wear Off?

It is well known that caffeine can significantly impact your sleeping pattern, especially when consumed late in the evening or close to bedtime. But just how long does it take for caffeine to wear off?

The answer depends on several factors, including metabolism rate, body weight, and age of consuming caffeine. It's estimated that coffee's stimulating effects can remain in your system for up to 8 hours after consumption.

Metabolism Rate: Your body's metabolism is responsible for processing all food and drinks you consume before it's broken down into their parts and used by your organs and tissue. Everyone has an individual metabolic rate, so how quickly or slowly caffeine is processed out of your system may vary between individuals. It typically takes an average person about 3-4 hours to metabolize one cup of coffee, but if someone has a slower-than-normal metabolism, this process may take longer.

Body Weight: The amount of fat stored within our bodies also affects our ability to metabolize substances such as caffeine. A person with higher levels of fat stores will experience slower rates at which substances are processed out from their systems than someone with lower levels of fat stores.

Age: Age is also important in determining how quickly caffeine wears off from your system, as younger people tend to have faster metabolic rates than older people. Additionally, younger individuals can process substances like caffeine faster because their organs and tissue are more efficient at using energy than older people.

So, if you're wondering, "how long does it take for caffeine to wear off," there is no definitive answer. However, we know that it takes longer than you might think, so if you're struggling to drop off, you should remember the links between poor sleep and caffeine and that coffee at night may affect your slumber.

Why Drinking Coffee Before Bed Affects Your Sleep

Drinking coffee before bed can seriously impact your sleep quality and duration, even if you don't feel the effect of the caffeine right away. As highlighted, the effects of caffeine can last up to 8 hours after consuming it, meaning you could still be impacted by the stimulating properties when it's time for bed.

People who are more sensitive to caffeine can experience an increase in their heart rate and anxiety, as well as feeling agitated when attempting to get to sleep. This affects how quickly you fall asleep and worsens the quality of sleep, which can leave you tired or groggy during the day.

In addition to the physical effects, drinking a bedtime coffee can also lead to mental issues like difficulty concentrating or increased irritability due to lack of sleep. Coffee late at night disrupts our circadian rhythm, our body's natural clock that helps us know when it's time for rest and when wakefulness has come around again. 

Having regular sleeping patterns helps regulate hormones like cortisol and melatonin, which are key players in determining our alertness and energy levels throughout the day. Coffee late at night throws off this balance and makes it harder for us to stay on a consistent schedule, which further impacts our ability to get adequate sleep each night. 

All in all, late-night coffee is not recommended due to its potential effects on physical and mental performance. Equally negative is its disruption of natural sleeping rhythms and circadian cycles that help keep us healthy and energized during waking hours. Coffee should ideally be limited to earlier in the day to allow the body's natural processes to occur before bedtime.

How to Counteract Caffeine Late-Night or Before Bed

The best way to counteract caffeine and its effects is to avoid drinking coffee late at night or reduce the amount you're drinking. Coffee late at night can easily become habit-forming if you're drinking a lot, so consider switching out your coffee for a smaller size or reducing the number of cups you have.

However, if this isn't possible, then several tactics can help reduce the effects of caffeine and make it easier for you to drift off into dreamland without disruption.

Use the Pzizz App

As you just read, overcoming anxiety is important when looking for ways to counteract caffeine from coffee before bed. Our Pzizz app uses a combination of music, sound effects, and voiceovers to help you relax and drift off into a deep sleep. The app is designed to calm down racing thoughts or overactive minds so users can find relaxation quicker.

Central to Pzizz's features to help you fall asleep is our "sleep module." This module allows you to customize your sleep routine through various choices. These include "3D Voice" and “Wakeup”-three and a half minutes of soothing music crafted to bring you back from sleep peacefully yet still full of energy for the day ahead. 

Pzizz is simple and effective, helping you drift off to sleep and wake up energized, all at the push of a button. There's no need for any expensive equipment or extra effort, just download the app and let Pzizz do the rest.

It's important to note, though, that while Pzizz may help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with drinking coffee late at night, such as difficulty falling asleep, it cannot fully counteract all of its effects, particularly physical ones.

Pzizz is free to download and is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Other Methods

Alongside the Pzizz app, you can use several other methods to help counteract caffeine's effects. These can even be used alongside our app to give you the best possible chance of getting a great night of sleep.

Drink water: Coffee is a diuretic, increasing the amount of urine your body produces. Replenish this by drinking plenty of water throughout the day and before bed to rehydrate yourself.

Eat food: Eating foods rich in fiber, like oats or bananas, can help slow down the absorption of caffeine into your bloodstream, so its effects are somewhat reduced.

Exercise: Coffee is known to increase energy levels, so burning off some excess energy through exercise can help you feel more relaxed and ready for sleep when you're done.

Do some breathing exercises: Making sure you're fully relaxed can alleviate anxiety symptoms, one of the side effects of caffeine.

Meditate: Along the same lines, meditating before bed can help you clear your mind, allowing you to transition more easily into sleep. It is a useful aid in overcoming the nervous stimulation that caffeine can often cause.

The Science That Links Poor Sleep and Caffeine

In terms of science that links poor sleep and caffeine, medical research has found a correlation between drinking coffee at night and difficulty falling asleep. Equally, it's been found that excess caffeine consumption reduces alertness during waking hours due to impaired mental performance from lack of restorative sleep.

A 2016 study published in Nutrition found that too much caffeine can lead to the onset of insomnia or worsen a pre-existing condition. The American College of Chest Physicians conducted a study that same year and found evidence that soda containing caffeine may lead to enhanced sleep-disordered breathing (SDB), an essential feature of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).

Equally, there is significant evidence that caffeine can create a cycle of dependence. By this, we mean that the initial caffeine you take causes you to sleep poorly, and as a result, you take more caffeine to be alert the day after. This causes you to sleep poorly again and leads to a continuous cycle of caffeine dependency.

Alternatives to Your Bedtime Coffee

Hot Herbal Tea

Caffeine-free herbal tea is a great alternative to coffee late at night or right before bedtime, and there are plenty of flavors to choose from. For example, chamomile, peppermint, lavender, and jasmine are all great choices known for their calming effects.

Chamomile is perhaps the most popular choice for a bedtime beverage due to its mild sedative qualities, which may help to reduce anxiety and induce sleepiness. Peppermint and lavender have also been associated with calming effects on the body, while jasmine has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat insomnia and other sleep disorders.

On top of being caffeine-free, these herbal teas also contain antioxidant properties that can help combat free radicals in the body, which cause inflammation if left unchecked. Additionally, many are rich in vitamins, minerals, and polyphenols that can provide multiple health benefits, including boosting your immune system and improving digestion.


Chai tea is a black tea brewed with spices like cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and black pepper. It originates in India, where it was first made in the 19th century. Chai is known for its strong flavor and aroma, usually enhanced by adding milk or cream and some sweetener like honey or sugar. It can also be served cold on hot days for a refreshing change from regular coffee.

Unlike your regular bedtime coffee, chai does not contain anywhere as much caffeine-making it an excellent replacement for coffee at night. It also contains antioxidants like polyphenols which help decrease inflammation and reduce the risk of certain illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. In addition to these health benefits, chai has an array of calming properties due to its spicy ingredients that can help you relax before bedtime.


Kombucha is becoming increasingly popular as a healthy alternative to coffee due to its low sugar content and abundance of probiotics that aid digestion. While this fermented tea drink contains a minimal amount of caffeine due to the tea leaves used in its production, it is much less than drinking regular coffee. 

Kombucha is made using sweetened black or green tea combined with yeast cultures called "SCOBY" (symbiotic cultures of bacteria and yeast). The SCOBYs feed on carbohydrates from the tea resulting in fermentation which produces carbon dioxide bubbles-giving kombucha its distinctive fizziness.

Aside from helping you digest foods better throughout the day, kombucha has also been found to have anti-inflammatory properties due to its containing antioxidants like phenolic compounds, which can help reduce inflammation caused by free radicals.

Furthermore, studies have shown that routinely drinking kombucha can help boost energy levels without causing a crash later on like coffee does – making it an excellent go-to beverage before bedtime when trying to avoid drinking coffee late at night!

Decaf Coffee

Decaf coffee is a great option if you don't want to give up your cup of Joe before bed. Decaf provides all of the comforting aspects associated with drinking regular coffee but without any of its stimulating effects due to being up to 99% caffeine free! Coffee beans used for decaffeination are typically treated with water or chemical solvents like methylene chloride or ethyl acetate during production-both of which strip away nearly all traces of caffeine in the beans without affecting their flavor.

Decaf coffee is an excellent source of antioxidants that aren't always found in regular coffee, such as chlorogenic acids, which have been suggested by scientific research as having multiple health benefits in weight loss and treating cancer. One 2019 study published in the Theranostics journal found that "Chlorogenic acid effectively treats cancers through induction of cancer cell differentiation." However, more studies need to be done on this subject.

Herbal Coffee

Herbal coffee is another great alternative if you're still planning on drinking coffee before bed. Many options have zero caffeine content, making them perfect as bedtime coffee. Like herbal tea, herbal coffee comes in many different flavors, like chamomile, peppermint, lavender, and jasmine.

Each type of herbal coffee has its unique flavor and beneficial properties. Equally, herbal coffee can also provide health benefits as it also contains antioxidants. Drinking herbal coffee may even help improve your digestion and boost your immune system!


Drinking coffee at night can cause various sleep-related issues, such as insomnia, restlessness, and fatigue. The best way to counteract the effects of caffeine is to avoid it altogether. However, decaf coffee or herbal tea is an excellent option if you're looking for an alternative beverage that will give you energy without keeping you up at night. Furthermore, chai tea also provides some sleep-promoting benefits due to its low caffeine content and calming spices that can help you relax.

However, if you're still struggling to sleep, you may consider our Pzizz app. Pzizz is an advanced sleep system that combines soothing sounds, music, and voiceovers to help you fall asleep fast.

Pzizz is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play and is free to download!


How long does it take for caffeine to wear off?

Generally, it takes about 4-6 hours for the effects of caffeine to be eliminated from your body. However, this time can vary depending on how much you consume, how often you drink coffee, and individual differences in metabolism.

Is drinking coffee at night bad for sleep?

Consuming caffeinated beverages too close to bedtime can make it challenging to fall asleep and stay asleep due to its stimulatory effect. Caffeine blocks adenosine receptors in the brain, making us feel more awake and alert, thus making it difficult to drift off into a peaceful sleep. It’s important to remember that poor sleep and caffeine go hand in hand.

Will having coffee affect my overall sleep quality?

Yes, consuming too much caffeine during the day or late at night can lead to poor sleep quality and disrupted REM cycles. This could leave you exhausted when you wake up, even if you slept 8+hours! To prevent this, try limiting yourself to two cups of caffeinated drinks per day before noon and avoiding any caffeinated beverage within 3-4 hours of going to bed.