Caffeine Induced Sleep Disorder

Caffeine induced sleep disorder results from overconsumption of caffeine. If a person consumes caffeine immediately before bed time or regularly throughout the day then the sleep delays, total sleep time reduces, normal stages of sleep alters and the sleep quality decreases. High dose of caffeine in late evening sleep onset latency (length of time it takes to go from full wakefulness to sleep).

Excessive caffeine consumption leads to intoxicated state. Caffeine intoxication presents as excitement, restlessness, agitation, rambling thought and insomnia. Caffeine taken in the morning can have these signs of intoxication the following night.

The amount of caffeine that is necessary to produce symptoms varies from person to person. Caffeine does not affect all people the same way. Although consuming caffeine regularly some people do not report any sleep problems.

Cause of caffeine induced sleep disorder


Through stomach and small intestine caffeine enters the blood stream and produces the stimulating effect as soon as 15 minutes after consumption. When caffeine enters the body it persists for several hours and takes about 6 hours to eliminate the one half of consumed caffeine. Caffeine reaches the brain and increases the secretion of norepinephrine that is associated with fight or flight stress response.
The increase in noepinephrine levels raises the activity of neurons in brain and produce symptoms that resembles panic attack.

Signs and symptoms of caffeine induced sleep disorder

• Excitement.
• Restlessness.
• Nervousness.
• Insomnia.
• Dieresis.
• Flushed face.
• Twitching in muscle.
• Gastrointestinal disturbance.
• Rambling thinking or speech.
• Tachycardia.
• Psychomotor agitation.
• Periods of inexhaustibility.

Investigations for caffeine induced sleep disorder

Diagnosis is based on:
• Individual’s recent history.
• Physical examination.
• Lab analysis of body fluids.

Treatment for caffeine induced sleep disorder

Lower or stop the consumption of caffeine. Some may experience mild withdrawal symptoms e.g. irritability, headache, occasional nausea, but these symptoms resolve quickly.

Prognosis of caffeine induced sleep disorder

Individual recovers from caffeine intoxication easily except acute episode of caffeine intoxication.

Prevention of caffeine induced sleep disorder

• Monitor the daily intake of caffeine.
• Substitute decaffeinated tea, coffee, for caffeinated beverages.

Differential diagnosis of caffeine induced sleep disorder

• Generalized anxiety disorder.
• Panic disorder.
• Amphetamine intoxication.
• Withdrawal effect of sleep medications, tranquillizers, sedatives or nicotine.
• Depression.

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