Settling down for a nice hot cuppa in the afternoon is one of life’s simple pleasures.
But don’t even think about putting the kettle on if you fancy getting a good night’s sleep.
Even though it may be hours before you think about slipping into your pyjamas, experts say an after-lunch hot drink ruins the chance of a good kip – especially in middle age.
Even though it may be hours before you think about slipping into your pyjamas, experts say an after-lunch hot drink ruins the chance of a good kip – especially in middle age (stock image)
Scientists and health professionals say the over-50s should steer clear of tea or coffee after midday because they take longer to absorb stimulants in the beverages.
Potential trace amounts of caffeine may remain in the body by nightfall, which can wreck the chances of drifting off. Just two cups of coffee after lunch could leave the equivalent of one cup in the system by 8pm.
Younger people, by contrast, are better able to deal with caffeine in the afternoon. The advice comes from the Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH), which warns that not getting enough sleep can lead to cancer, dementia and depression.
It has come up with a range of sleep-boosting tips for the over-50s, who often find it difficult to get an uninterrupted night’s slumber. Advice includes napping for no more than half an hour in the early afternoon and waking up at the same time every day, as well as a warm bath before bed.
But as a nation of tea lovers, it is the after-lunch hot drink ban that Britons may find hardest to follow. Professor James Goodwin of charity Age UK, said: ‘As we age, drinking even small amounts of coffee in the afternoon can interfere with both falling and staying asleep, as well as decreasing our ability to maintain our usual sleep pattern.
‘If at 2pm, someone drinks two regular cups of coffee, which is about 200mg of caffeine, the equivalent of one cup will still be present at 8pm and for the body to halve that again will take until about 2am. These effects are less noticeable in younger people and vary greatly from one person to another.’
The Sleep Council has found as many as four in five people aged 45 to 54 do not sleep well. They can struggle to sleep as deeply, and wake more during the night, as their internal body clock shifts.
Older people tend to get more tired early in the evening and staying up late becomes more difficult, but they still need seven to eight hours of sleep a night.
The guidance from the GCBH states that being drowsy during the day is not normal for this age group and cites scientific studies that show a lack of sleep damages memory and attention span.
The advice includes getting up at the same time every day, for a good sleeping routine, keeping pets and smartphones out of the bedroom and using a soft amber-coloured night light rather than turning on the main light when getting out of bed at night.
A warm bath and warm socks can also help combat sleeplessness. On taking 40 winks, the guidance advises to keep them short.
It says: ‘Afternoon naps of 30 or minutes or less in the early afternoon are unlikely to disrupt night time sleep. Naps can help older people stay alert until later in the evening than they normally would. However, long, late naps can be hazardous to sleep at night because (they are) likely to decrease the ability to fall asleep and then stay asleep.’
It advises those who suffer from persistent insomnia or restless sleep to avoid naps altogether.
Other tips for a good sleep by the GCBH – founded by Age UK and the American Association of Retired Persons – include restricting food and drink three hours before going to bed, and not using alcohol as a sleep aid.
Professor Goodwin said: ‘Sleeping is something we all tend to take for granted, but we really have to wise up to the fact that getting the right amount of good sleep is crucial as we age, helping to protect us from all kinds of problems that can affect our brains as well as our bodies.’
Middle aged and want a good night’s sleep? Don’t have a cuppa after lunch: Stimulants in the drinks takes longer to absorb in the over-50s have 732 words, post on www.dailymail.co.uk at 2017-01-11 00:10:37. This is cached page on WBNews. If you want remove this page, please contact us.