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How does caffeine affect your sleep quality?

Rich in B-vitamins, manganese, potassium, antioxidants and many more nutrients, coffee (in this case, with caffeine) without sugar is a healthy beverage that may lower the risk of several lifestyle diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s.  

And then there is caffeine which can get you up and running for hours on end, and this plays a big part in you buzzing when you should be sleeping.

Yes, coffee is just plain alluring with its deep, rich, comforting colour, fragrance and flavours. One mug is never enough. Caffeine is a naturally occurring substance that affects the brain and behaviour that keeps you coming back for more.

According to the Sleep Health Foundation, caffeine is in many different products such as tea, chocolate, soft drinks, some medication and coffee. Caffeine promotes alertness by inhibiting sleep receptors in the brain. 

With quick absorption into the bloodstream, peak levels can be reached within 30 to 70 minutes after your first cup of coffee in the morning. That’sThat’s why many people choose to start their day with coffee, the effects of which they can still feel 3 to 7 hours later. It may stay in your system for 24 hours. 

Sleep and caffeine

Research attributes to lack of sleep to many lifestyle health issues that people struggle with, such as the inability to lose weight, insulin resistance and gastrointestinal conditions. 

Your body needs time to recover during the recommended 8 hours of sleep at night. If you suspect that too much caffeine may cause your sleeplessness, experts say you should assess the situation by asking, “”how does this serve me?”” If you’reyou’re losing weight or having tons of energy and not sleeping, then it is best to cut the stimulants and take your chances to restore natural sleep and health patterns. 

This is how caffeine impacts your sleep: 

  • You lie awake hours before falling asleep
  • You have difficulty staying asleep 
  • Your sleep is light, and you wake up several times at night, especially around 3 am
  • You’re tired when you wake up, not having had a good night’snight’s rest in a dark room
  • You need an energy boost to kick off your day
  • You present with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) in that you sleep during the day at your desk and in meetings

Research has also uncovered links between high caffeine consumption and sleep apnoea when breathing repeatedly stops and starts while you sleep; restless leg syndrome and insomnia, which is a complete absence of sleep. 

Caffeine in moderation

For many people prone to sleepiness during the day, some caffeine in the form of coffee, tea or a soft drink keeps them alert and awake at work.

Experts suggest that your daily caffeine intake should be no more than 400 mg to offset negative health impacts such as; upset stomach, feelings of jitteriness and trembling and sleep disruption at night.

For 400 mg a day, you get five cups of regular strength black tea or two cups of medium strength brewed black coffee a day or two shots of espresso, which can range from 145 to 200 mg, depending on where in the world you are and where your coffee was grown. 

According to Mama Sezz, caffeine can also have the following negative effects:

  • Stress levels in the body increases because there is a spike in catecholamine – stress hormones
  • Too much leads to overstimulation and anxiety
  • Coffee is quite acidic and thus contributes to heartburn, acid reflux and other gastrointestinal conditions 
  • Coffee impacts your serotonin level, which is crucial for sleep, mood, bowel functions and energy levels
  • It also affects oestrogen levels in women. 

In low to moderate amounts, caffeine contributes positively to alertness, mild euphoria and better cognitive performance when it comes to concentration and problem-solving. 

Other culprits

Jeanhailes.org reports that when it comes to sleep and caffeine, depending on your sensitivity, some people should have their last cup at lunchtime while others should have their final cup of no more than100 mg of caffeine; about 1-2 hours before bedtime. 

They suggest that you should swop out the last drink of the evening to green tea at 30 -50mg of caffeine a cup for a restful night’snight’s sleep. 

Other caffeine level estimates are; 80 mg in a cup of instant coffee; black tea, whether from a bag or lose leaves, ranges between 25 -100 mg with 50 mg being the average; 145 mg of caffeine per litre of cola drink and about 49 mg in a 375 ml can.

There is also 10 mg of caffeine in a 20 g bar of milk chocolate. However, the darker the chocolate, the higher the caffeine content. 

If you cut back on caffeine suddenly, you will likely experience withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, tiredness and anxiety. You should cut back slowly, the experts say.

Mama Sezz advocates swopping out caffeine-loaded drinks either in the morning or at night before bed for plant-based golden milk, a turmeric drink with a pinch of black pepper; berry smoothies; hot lemon water or cinnamon powder in plant milk which is an ideal late-night drink.


The most prevalent query is how to claim from medical insurance when admitted to the hospital. This is not the same as when you claim medical aid. In the case of medical assistance, the hospital will lodge the claim directly with the scheme and get the payment directly too. Your insurer pays a set portion of the cost with a hospital cover. Patients are still fully liable for the bill. You will need to claim from the insurance to pay the hospital. 

As always, pre-authorisation is required before going into the hospital. Affinity Health has a 24-hour hospital pre-authorisation line. 


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