If you’ve ever hesitated about saying yes to that offer of a coffee after dinner or cup of tea before bed, you can now stop worrying, say scientists.
Drinking caffeine close to bedtime may not stop you getting you off to sleep after all, a study suggests. Instead, it is alcohol which is far more likely to lead to a night of tossing and turning.
Researchers tracked the sleep of nearly 800 people over six nights, and asked them to note if they had consumed caffeine, alcohol or nicotine in the four hours before bed.
Almost half had caffeinated drinks at night but no link with poor sleep could be found. In contrast, those who drank alcohol saw their sleep efficiency fall by almost 1% – the equivalent of five minutes’ lost sleep. Those who smoked before bed saw a 2% fall in their sleep efficiency, an average of eight extra minutes awake.