Episode 14


Caffeine and Nicotine

In this week's episode I discuss the two most commonly used psychoactive substances across the world: caffeine, and nicotine, and how they could be affecting your sleep.

Caffeine and nicotine are both stimulants, and can aid in alertness. But stimulants also make it more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. The effects of these stimulants on the brain persists for hours after consumption: 5-6 hours after caffeine consumption only half of it has been metabolized; for nicotine and its active metabolite, its nearly 17 hours. 

Caffeine use within about 8 hours of intended bed time has been shown to negatively impact sleep - both in the ability to fall asleep, stay asleep, and quality of sleep achieved (specifically, limiting the amount of high quality deep sleep your brain is chemically allowed to achieve). 

Nicotine use is associated with decreased total sleep time, longer time to fall asleep, more fragmentation and interruption of sleep in the middle of the night, and decreased high quality sleep. 

Limit your caffeine to the morning and lunch and you'll be fine. Nicotine in any form at any time is harmful. If you need help quitting, check out the great info from the CDC, including the quitStart app, or check out the free Fit & Quit program. 


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