Learn how coffee affects blood pressure and sleep

October 5, 2015

Drinking too much coffee can set your nerves on edge or leave you staring at the ceiling at night, but several major studies have failed to find a link between coffee and chronically elevated blood pressure. We'll go over the research and effects.

Learn how coffee affects blood pressure and sleep

How does caffeine effect blood pressure?

  • Caffeine increases levels of stress hormones, which are known to raise blood pressure. Not surprisingly, studies show that drinking caffeinated beverages causes blood pressure to rise. However, this effect is modest and tends to wear off quickly.
  • You'll be glad to hear that after a few days of regular coffee drinking, caffeine ceases to have an effect on blood pressure.
  • One large study of more than 155,000 women found no connection between coffee drinking and the risk of developing high blood pressure.
  • Population research suggests that coffee consumption is fine for your heart as long as you sip in moderation. There's some evidence to suggest that drinking 1.25 litres (five cups) or more a day increases the risk of heart attacks, but large studies in the United States, Scotland, and Finland have failed to find any link between coffee drinking and cardiovascular disease.

Learn how coffee impacts wakefulness

  • Whether or not coffee keeps you up depends on whether or not your body is used to the caffeine. Drinking too much coffee can cause almost anyone to have trouble falling asleep at night.
  • But why are some people who drink coffee all day able to nod off as soon as their heads hit the pillow? Caffeine gives its jolt by blocking a brain chemical called adenosine, which usually makes you sleepy. However, this effect is lessened if you're a frequent coffee drinker.
  • Research has shown that consuming caffeine on a regular basis increases the number of adenosine receptors, which partially offsets the effects of caffeine.The amount of caffeine needed to have an effect varies from one person to another, depending on sensitivity to the chemical, body size, and other factors.

It seems like there's little reason to shy away from your morning cup of coffee. Once it's a habit, the effect on your blood pressure is negligible, and as long as it doesn't impact your sleep, you're good to go. So feel free to enjoy the delicious taste and small burst of energy that a good cup of coffee can offer.

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