If you’re sensitive to caffeine that you can’t sleep at night, but really want to take a sip of coffee, you might have considered drinking decaf coffee. But the question is, is it really safe to drink decaf coffee at night?
Well, answering this question depends on your caffeine sensitivity. Yes, decaf coffee has a very minimal percentage of caffeine in it, but not all decaf coffees have the same level of caffeine. Some have only 5 mg of caffeine, while some have over 30 mg.
Also, one of the most frequently asked questions regarding decaf coffee is if it has any stimulant effects like regular coffee. This is an important matter since some people are not fans of staying awake, but just really love taking a sip of coffee.
In this article, we will debunk some of the decaf coffee myths and explain well whether it is really a safe drink at night or not. First, let us define what decaf coffee is.
What Is Decaffeinated Coffee?
Decaf or decaffeinated coffee is a type of coffee that contains only 1-3%, or less, caffeine on it. Basically, it means removing most of the caffeine contents in coffee beans.
The process starts with using water to swell the green coffee beans in order to extract the caffeine. Then, the extraction of the caffeine will be accomplished by using either water, solvent, or carbon. After extracting, the beans will be dried to bring back their moisture levels.
There are different processes in extracting caffeine from coffee beans, but the bottom line is that decaf coffee must contain an extremely lower amount of caffeine compared to regular coffee.
Is It Safe To Drink Decaf Coffee At Night?
Yes, it is basically safe to drink decaf coffee at night. Drinking it will also not affect your sleeping process and your own body clock. This is because decaf coffee is not a stimulant, taking into consideration the level of caffeine it has on it.
Imagine that a normal 8 oz cup of coffee would normally include 60 mg to 280 mg of caffeine on it, while a cup of decaf coffee will only give you as little as 5 mg. It is also worthy to note that decaf coffee is not a wake-up drink, so it is a perfect drink at night time.
The taste would not be the same because of the reduced caffeine content, so you have to manage expectations here. Coffee manufacturers, however, are developing new ways to create perfect formulas in giving decaf coffees a taste that resembles normal coffee.
Can You Drink Decaf Coffee Right Before Sleeping?
While decaf coffee contains much less caffeine, it is still not advisable to drink it right before bedtime. Drinking coffee, in general, has lots of side effects and you still need to consider several factors. These include the amount of coffee you consume, your age, and the amount of caffeine in your coffee.
Even though drinking decaf coffee does not disturb your sleeping pattern, it is still advised that you remember the following notes:
First, caffeine remains in your blood for 2 to 3 hours. So whether you are drinking regular or decaf coffee, you should be drinking it 3 to 4 hours before you sleep at night.
Second, decaf coffee still contains caffeine. In our case, 5 mg of caffeine. So, you should still be mindful of the number of caps that you consume at night.
Are There Any Benefits Of Drinking Decaf Coffee?
Aside from having lesser caffeine content, and giving you a sip of coffee at night, drinking decaf coffee has several more health benefits than you can imagine.
It Contains Antioxidants
Decaffeinated coffee contains a reasonable antioxidant level. This fact alone makes it a good companion at night to help you reduce some stress before you end your day. Decaf coffee is considered to be one of the best sources of antioxidants, and it will surely give your body a rejuvenating and relaxing mood.
It Lowers Anxiety Levels
One of the factors that make it difficult for us to sleep is our anxiety. So, we need something that can lower our anxiety levels, and decaf coffee is a good way to reduce stress. It is to be noted that it is still advisable to consult a professional in dealing with your anxiety, and drinking decaf coffee may not have the same effects on people.
It Has Lower Acidity
It is not a hidden fact that coffee is high in acidity. So, drinking it at night might cause heartburn and discomfort that are really troublesome. Luckily for us, decaf coffee has lower acidity compared to regular coffee.
Thus, if you’ve been troubled enough by heartburns and gastro-esophageal problems, drinking decaf coffee is definitely a better choice for you.
It Does Not Disrupt Your Sleeping Pattern
Most coffee lovers drink coffee to relax their minds and bodies. However, the high level of caffeine makes it difficult for them to sleep or relax. And since decaf coffee has lower caffeine levels, it will not disrupt your body clock and will not affect how you sleep. But as mentioned above, it is not advisable to drink any kind of caffeine right before your bedtime.
Does Decaf Coffee Have Stimulant Effects?
Regular coffee, due to its caffeine contents, is considered to be a stimulating drink. A stimulant is something that can keep you awake for a longer time than normal. It is a drug that can make a person more awake, energetic, and alert. That is why some people opt to drink coffee whenever they have to finish something for the day.
And since decaf coffee contains only 1-3% of caffeine, it is not considered a stimulant. As we’ve mentioned above, decaf coffee is not a wake-up drink, so it does not really make you awake, energetic, and more alert.
Do All Decaf Coffees Contain The Same Amount Of Caffeine?
The basic definition of decaffeinated coffee is that it relatively contains about 97% less caffeine. However, not all decaf coffee has the same caffeine level.
Some decaf coffee available contains about 30 mg of caffeine, which makes it not a really good option to drink at night. Thus, if you’re sensitive to caffeine content, it is best advised to read the labels carefully before drinking.
So, knowing which level of caffeine you can tolerate is a great first step in determining which brand or amount of decaf coffee you should be consuming. In this matter, we advise that you seek professional and medical advice from professionals. You can also observe yourself for some symptoms that can indicate your caffeine sensitivity.
Is Regular Coffee Better Than Decaf Coffee?
While there are health benefits associated with decaf coffee, there are also factors that make drinking regular coffee better than decaf coffee.
The best advantage would be the stimulant effects present in regular coffee. If you want to boost your mood and alertness, drinking regular coffee is the best option for you. Or if you have a report to finish for the next day, regular coffee is a good companion to keep you awake.
Moreover, the following advantages can also be enjoyed:
- Regular coffee can help you improve your mood, reaction time, memory retention, and how your mind functions.
- It can aid your metabolism and weight reduction.
- It can improve your athletic performance.
- It reduces the risk of anxiety and mild depression among women.
- It has a lower risk of cirrhosis.
While all of these advantages are facts based on research data, it is to be noted that there is a lesser amount of research information on decaf coffee.
Who Should Drink Decaf Coffee?
Drinking decaf coffee is oftentimes a matter of personal choice when it comes to caffeine sensitivity. Some people can tolerate high amounts of caffeine, and actually love them, while some cannot so they choose decaf coffee.
Regardless of your sensitivity to caffeine, a regular healthy adult is advised to consume caffeine that is less than 400 mg on a daily basis. This is approximately equal to four cups of coffee.
Aside from those that cannot tolerate high amounts of caffeine, there are also people that are medically advised to take lower caffeine levels. Pregnant women and children are also advised to take less caffeine.
Generally, excess intake of caffeine can cause different health problems such as acid reflux, anxiety, digestion problems, or trouble sleeping among caffeine-sensitive people.
The Bottom Line
Decaf coffee has extremely lower caffeine levels compared to regular coffee. Because of this, the stimulant effects of regular coffee are also removed. Thus, it will not disrupt your sleeping pattern or your body clock.
Drinking decaf coffee can also give you several health benefits. These include having a reasonable amount of antioxidants, it lowers anxiety, it has a lower acidity, and it soothes your body and mind.
Decaf coffee is for those who are sensitive to high contents of caffeine. Moreover, some people are medically advised to take decaf since it’s best for their health. Generally, pregnant women and children are advised to take drinks with lower caffeine levels.