Drink coffee or sleep in?

30 Oct Drink coffee or sleep in?

Caffeine is the world’s most widely used psychoactive stimulant, a natural drug occurring in tea, coffee and chocolate.   It works to promote wakefulness by blocking adenosine receptors in the brain.  The adenosine receptors when activated normally act to slow down neural transmissions and promote sleep, thus blocking their action has the opposite effect and prevents sleep.  There is a wide variety of new caffeine containing products available these days but are they safe for everyone and what are your kids getting their hands on?

Children aged 2-19 have steadily increased their consumption from the 70s through the 90s with a similar decrease in dairy and increase in soda.  Since the 90s the rise of the energy drink has taken on some with very high caffeine contents.

Maximum safe intake levels appears to be around 400mg / day in healthy adults, 100mg/day in adolescents and 2.5mg/kg/day in children (less than 12 years old).  One standard sized can of energy drink provides 77mg of caffeine.   The safe levels are much lower for people with cardio vascular issues or pregnant women.  Certain energy drinks have been measured with up to 500mg of caffeine which is higher than the adult safe intake let alone an adolescent.

A recent study on 309 children ages 8-12 years showed 41% drink tea or coffee and 40 % drink caffeinated sodas making up an average intake of 10.2+- 17.4 mg/day.  Caffeine consumption was significantly associated with sleep routine, morning tiredness, restless sleep and internalising behavioural problems.  Although the overall intake was low compared to normal adult consumption, there was an effect on sleep problems and related behaviour.

Remember that caffeine is a drug even if it is sold on every street corner of the city.  Recommendations are to not consume caffeine 6 hrs prior to going to bed.  If you have trouble sleeping or getting the jitters after too many cups of coffee, consider curbing your intake and sleep in for the extra rest.


The full review can be read at http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyt.2017.00080/full#h13