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7 Myths About Caffeine

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Myth No. 2: Caffeine causes insomnia
Fact: It depends. The human body absorbs caffeine quickly, but it also flushes it quickly. Processed mainly through the liver, caffeine has a relatively short half-life. On average it takes four to five hours to rid half of the consumed caffeine from your body–after another five hours 75 percent of it is eliminated. Unless you are very sensitive, a morning cup or two shouldn’t effect your sleep.

But if you have a quick latte at the 3:00PM slump, or an espresso after dinner–you may be counting sheep for a lot longer than you’re comfortable with. Your sleep shouldn’t be affected if you steer clear of caffeine for at least six hours before bedtime. Your sensitivity may vary, though, depending on your metabolism and the amount of caffeine you regularly consume.

Next: Myth No. 3

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.


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7:09AM PDT on Apr 10, 2015

Thank you

6:55AM PST on Nov 12, 2014

Making fresh coffee is an exercise in concentration.

5:17AM PDT on Oct 6, 2014

Thank you :)

8:47AM PDT on Aug 10, 2014

Informative, thank you :)

1:44PM PST on Feb 5, 2014

Thanks for sharing this! Coffee myths and facts are always so interesting to read.

1:41PM PST on Jan 27, 2014


11:41AM PST on Jan 27, 2014

coffee makes me tired

1:59PM PST on Dec 1, 2013

p.s. No, I'm not against coffee or tea, and drink them regularly (in moderation, of course! ;-).
I do agree that caffeine does have many benefits, especially in medications.

1:55PM PST on Dec 1, 2013

This article has a LOT of misinformation.
I am glad to see that a lot of readers have included corrections in their comments here, right back to some very knowledgeable ones in 2009.

Caffeine IS ADDICTIVE. I learned that from drinking Coke when I was 18 - a scary discovery! I'm sure all of you know people who are addicted to coffee. Not like heroin addicts, of course, but still a reality. And not everyone becomes addicted; we're all different.

A majority of Melissa's "facts" don't actually refute the myths. She repeats that caffeine "in moderation" is safe. But how many people you know do NOT drink coffee or cola in moderation? Because it is addictive, a lot of people consume very large amounts.

Thank you especially to the smart reader who debunked Melissa's "facts" about caffeine and alcohol. You make a lot of sense.

We're talking about a drug here. Everyone reacts differently. But don't you think that this drug has serious enough effects to be very careful about its consumption by children?

Luckily, a lot of us are experienced and knowledgeable enough to see through Melissa's rationalizations about caffeine consumption. I worry about the readers here who just say - Yeah, this is a great article because it says what I want to believe!

I've found the experiences related in the readers' comments fascinating. I encourage everyone to look up the real facts, to read opposing opinions and judge them by what you observe around you.

8:54AM PST on Dec 1, 2013

thank you

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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