Your mom likes her coffee. In fact, maybe she’s been drinking coffee every day, from morning through afternoon and into the evening hours for most of her life. She may have had difficulty sleeping at night and never made the connection between her coffee consumption, the caffeine in it, and those sleep difficulties.
Now, though, she’s in her 70s or 80s, continues with this significantly bad habit (at least as it relates to her ability to sleep) and she’s losing strength, mobility, and balance. You’re concerned about her safety and realize the impact that lack of sleep is beginning to have on the rest of her life.
Caffeine is a stimulant.
Most people do understand that caffeine is a stimulant, but they may not understand exactly how it works. Caffeine affects the brain in numerous ways. It can alter the chemical composition of the brain, triggering increased neuro-kinetic activity. When the brain is active, it won’t have the ability to wind down and get the body ready for the circadian rhythm necessary for a good night’s sleep.
Even decaf coffee contains caffeine.
There’s often a misconception people have when drinking decaffeinated coffee or tea. They assume since it’s decaffeinated there isn’t any caffeine in it at all. There’s less caffeine, but there is still caffeine in these decaffeinated beverages. That will still cause an overstimulation of the brain.
How it impacts sleep.
When you mother is trying to sleep at night, she may toss and turn, have her thoughts running in a hundred different directions, and be unable to settle down. If she is finally able to fall asleep, she will most likely wake up numerous times throughout the night. It can take upwards of eight hours for caffeine to completely leave the system, meaning if your mother is drinking coffee throughout the evening, she may still have caffeine in her system until 4 o’clock in the morning, 5 o’clock, or even by the time she is scheduled to wake up once again.
How it impacts safety.
When a person doesn’t sleep well at night, they will generally have lower energy, less focus, and may even have a tendency to rush around throughout the day. Your mother may get extremely tired at different times throughout the day and that increases the likelihood of mistakes, missteps, and other accidents.
Yes, drinking caffeinated beverages in the evening can cause sleep difficulties for anyone, elderly or otherwise. It can then have a direct impact on one’s safety. Encourage your mother to give up drinking coffee in the afternoon and evening for two weeks and see if her sleep patterns increase and if her safety improves.
If you or an aging loved one are looking for home care in White Plains, NY, call the friendly staff at The Perfect Home Care at (855) 855-5728. Call today!
- How Can You Tell When Your Elderly Loved One Really Can’t Live on Her Own Any Longer? - May 12, 2017
- Four Age-related Vision Problems in Seniors - April 14, 2017
- 5 Things to Know About Occupational Therapy - April 7, 2017