Caffeine induced sleep disorder: Everything you need to know

Caffeine induced sleep disorder

This article is a detailed overview of caffeine-induced sleep disorder and discusses some pertinent aspects related to this disorder. Also, this article reveals possible symptoms, diagnostic aspects and possible treatments that offer insight into this problem.

Caffeine induced sleep disorder is a psychiatric disorder in which the body remains awake due to an overdose of caffeine or consuming it at the wrong time. This disorder is usually associated with wakefulness, insomnia, as well as psychiatric issues such as anxiety or stress.” 

Caffeine induced sleep disorder: Everything you need to know

What is ‘Caffeine induced sleep disorder’? 

You might not have heard anyone refer to caffeine-induced sleep disorder in psychiatric terms before. This is usually because, although many people recognize the ability of caffeine to cause wakefulness, they do not treat this as a disorder. This guide will shed light on the way different foods can lead to this disorder as well as provide helpful tips on how to reduce the intake of caffeine in your diet.

You may be consuming caffeine as something to keep you alert during the day. Many people use it as a last-minute solution when they miss a good night’s sleep. This is why the consumption of caffeine is usually considered natural. However, it is recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) as a psychiatric disorder.

Prevalence: 

Caffeine induced sleep disorder is amongst the more common disorders, especially in developed countries. Caffeine is usually consumed amongst adults over 20 years old. Some studies indicated that women were more likely to become dependent on caffeine than men. However, this is a minimal difference.

In recent times, caffeine has become more common, especially after the mass production of ground coffee had become popular. In many countries, coffee beans are one of the most imported goods due to the certain climate in which coffee grows. However, most people are willing to pay extra to get their coffee as it produces a ‘relaxing effect on the mind.  

In many ways, caffeine consumption is becoming more common due to the lifestyle changes in the society. In postindustrial communities, life has become fast-paced due to technology and the instant gratification that plagues most significant cities. It is no surprise that large cities have a larger proportion of caffeine consumers than in small towns. 

Are you at risk? 

Although caffeine consumption is part of many individuals’ diets, not everyone is affected by caffeine-induced sleep disorders. The presence of this disorder in an individual depends on several factors, including genetic factors, one’s general lifestyle and dietary practices.

However, as with other drugs, people with prior mental problems are more likely to develop an addiction to foods that are high in caffeine due to its role as a stimulant. Researchers have found a direct link between increased stress levels and an increase in the consumption of caffeine.

If you are stressed pout at work and want to tea that all-important relaxing cup of coffee, then you should be careful. In such a mental state, one cup may turn into two and maybe more. The caffeine helps reduce your levels of stress and anxiety. However, it comes with many side effects, one of which is the risk of developing sleep disorders such as insomnia.

Possible Causes 

Most people assume that caffeine is only found in coffee. However, this is not true. Contrary to popular belief, there is a wide range of foods available that contain caffeine. An overdose of these foods usually results in the extra caffeine which enters the body. While you may regard these foods as a normal part of your diet, they are usually responsible for many diseases, including obesity as well as other Psychiatric diseases.  

Coffee is the main cause of caffeine-induced sleep disorders. However, you may not have realized it, but soft drinks, chocolate, and even green tea contain a certain amount of caffeine. Overconsumption of these foods will lead to more caffeine in your system, and you may have trouble sleeping at night. Next time you can’t sleep at night, it may be because of the extra chocolate that you at before going to bed. 

In some instances, consuming coffee is not in itself a cause of caffeine-induced sleep disorders. Instead, you may want to keep a check on the timing at which you drink coffee. The worst time to drink coffee is before bed, while some medical experts will recommend that you don’t consume coffee after 2 pm. Caffeine can come into effect a few hours after it is consumed. That’s why it’s important to stay away from foods that contain caffeine long before taking a nap.

Another major cause of caffeine-induced sleeping disorders is by consuming large servings of food with caffeine. More of something is not always better, and this is reflected in people who prefer to drink ‘extra-large’ mugs of coffee or tea, rather than consume a smaller serving. Coffee shops have become more sophisticated nowadays and are responding to consumer demands for larger servings.

Unfortunately, addictive substances often work in this way. They respond to the nervous system by stimulating the increase of dopamine in the brain. This is usually the cause of the extra ‘alertness’ that you feel after drinking a cup of coffee. However, the more you consume, the more your brain gets accustomed to the caffeine. You’ll reach a point at which coffee becomes essential for staying alert during the day. 

Possible Symptoms

Caffeine induced sleep disorders are difficult to diagnose. This is because they are easily confused with other psychiatric disorders that affect one’s sleep patterns. Many of the symptoms present in caffeine-induced sleep disorders are also present in other mental disorders as well.

It is important to note that these symptoms should be diagnosed in the context of whether you had consumed foods or drinks that are known to contain high levels of caffeine before you go to bed. You should also consider whether there are any other factors that are affecting your sleep patterns. This could include stress, anxiety or even excitement. 

If you notice these symptoms regularly, then you should consult your physician regarding which treatment option to avail. Symptoms of the caffeine-induced sleeping disorder include:

  • You are alert at the wrong time: After a longs days’ work, you should ideally be tired and sleepy. However, if you are over alert due to the extra coffee that you have consumed, then you should probably pay attention to your coffee drinking habits. 
  • You have to visit the toilet more often than usual: Caffeine and many forms of tea can cause fluid drainage from your body. That’s why you may have to visit the bathroom more often, even though you may not have consumed excessive amounts of liquids.
  • Headaches: Yes, that’s right. Caffeine can cause you to develop problems, especially at night. While most people view caffeine as something that reduces pain, it can cause headaches. Caffeine induced sleep disorders mean that you may be unable to sleep, even if you need the rest. This causes problems as your brain is forced to stay awake for extra-long periods of time.
  • Dizziness-: After headaches, the next stage of the symptoms of caffeine-induced sleep disorders is that you’ll feel dizzy, and your head might feel heavy. This is caused as a result of extreme sleep deprivation. The brain ceases to function normally due to a lack of sufficient rest. Even taking a small nap for a few hours can significantly reduce this dizziness. 
  • Mood crashes: In the case of caffeine, it is commonly known as ‘caffeine crashes”. This is similar to experiencing a ‘sugar crash’ after consuming sugary foods. Caffeine acts as a stimulant and usually has a period for which it remains active. After that, its effects start to wear away and you might experience a sudden drop in mood. This is usually accompanied by anxiety, stress or similar mental pains.

While many of the above-listed symptoms are common in caffeine-induced sleep disorders, they may be caused by other factors as well. Even people who don’t consume foods with caffeine may experience some of these symptoms. However, if you experience them regularly, then it is a sign that you should probably visit a physician for proper diagnosis.

Caffeine induced sleep disorder: Everything you need to know

Treatment Options

This is a psychiatric disorder and can usually be treated by a change in one’s lifestyle. However, other short-term treatments may help reduce the symptoms. These include both psychological therapy as well as medication.

Sleeping pills are usually administered to patients who have excessive difficulty in sleeping. If this disorder has reached the stage where it becomes difficult for one to stay sane, then your physician might recommend sleeping pills as a precaution in order to give you time to adjust to a new routine. However, it is essential to note that sleeping pills may have adverse side effects, and you should always take them after consultation with your physician.

Another form of treatment that is commonly used is CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy). You phycologist might identify certain behavioural traits that cause you to increase your consumption of foods that are high in caffeine. It could be as the result of an overeating trait or a reckless personality. This treatment usually has positive results, not only in caffeine addiction but in nicotine and alcohol addiction as well.

Lastly, the best way to treat the caffeine-induced sleeping disorder is to change your lifestyle. There are many natural ways in which you can stimulate your brain without having the same side effects as caffeine and other drugs. Exercise regularly to help your body and mind tire out. This will bring positive results in terms of sleeping patterns. Also, try to avoid consuming coffee after 2 pm.

Caffeine induced sleep disorder: Everything you need to know

Some helpful resources

  1. If you want to break out of the bad habit of drinking coffee every day, you should read this book “The Coffee Table Guide To Sleep Disorders.”
  2. Similarly, another great resource to help you learn about caffeine addiction: “Caffeinated: How Our Daily Habit Helps, Hurts, and Hooks Us.”
  3. As a reminder that you are going to quit caffeine addiction, this “Sleep Disorders Specialist Gift Mug” might help. 
  4. “RutaSleep: A safe and non-addictive sleep aid for caffeine addicts” will help remove the caffeine from your system to provide a good night’s sleep.
  5. A natural sleeping aid can be found in “Daily De-Caffeinate”. This will naturally remove the caffeine from your system. 

Conclusion

Overconsumption of caffeine is not as healthy as you might believe. It can alter the state of your mind, cause anxiety as well as disrupt your sleeping patterns. You should always follow a healthy lifestyle with less reliance on stimulants such as coffee. Instead, find other ways to stay relaxed such as going for a jog or simply taking a short nap.

FAQs

Q1. Can caffeine cause sleep disorders?

Yes. Caffeine contains chemicals that work as stimulants. These act to increase alertness in the brain and subsequently disrupt your sleeping patterns. 

Q2. Can caffeine make you psychotic?

While mild consumption is generally safe, excessive loss of sleep due to caffeine can often cause mental problems such as anxiety, stress and, in extreme cases, insanity. 

Q3. How much caffeine does it take to disrupt sleep?

A small dose of 100mg is all that is required to disrupt your sleep. This is equivalent to a small cup of coffee. 

Q4. How long does it take for caffeine to leave your system?

It usually takes caffeine between 4-6 hours before it leaves your system. This means that consuming caffeine twice a day can keep it in your system for the majority of the daytime hours. 

Q5. What are the symptoms of caffeine intolerance?

Rashes, shortness of breath, difficulty in swallowing food, diarrhea, and vomiting are all common symptoms of coffee intolerance. However, you should always diagnose the condition through a qualified doctor.

Q6. Can caffeine trigger mania?

Coffee is a stimulant that can trigger mania as well as sleeplessness. Even if you don’t get mania through coffee consumption, you’ll feel some of the effects due to a lack of sleep.

References

  1. Caffeine and Sleep Problems
  2. Caffeine Induced Sleep Disorder
  3. All about Caffeine Induced Sleep Disorder
  4. Sleep disorders and caffeine

Caffeine induced sleep disorder: Everything you need to know

Juanita Agboola

Juanita Agboola is the editor in chief of HFNE and an expert in mental health online. She has been writing about online behaviour, mental health and psychology issues since 2012. All Guides are reviewed by our editorial team which constitutes various clinical psychologists, PhD and PsyD colleagues.