Caffeinated coffee and soda are widely used for their ability to promote alertness and energy level. Unfortunately, the stimulant drug effect of caffeine is short-lived, and when it wears off in four hours, most people experience a fatigue or sleepiness rebound, which encourages only more caffeine to re-energize.
And so the cycle goes: larger and larger amounts of caffeinated coffee at three- to four-hour intervals throughout the day. The problem is that the stimulant effect of caffeine also increases your heart and respiratory rates, making you feel anxious and jittery right up to bedtime.
Heavy daily caffeine consumption and caffeinated drinks close to bedtime are very disruptive to falling and staying asleep in most people. Afternoon and nighttime caffeine will also aggravate any restless-leg symptoms you may have. Restless legs are uncomfortable creeping, crawling sensations in your calf muscles when you are sitting or lying still that force you to keep moving your legs. These are the folks who are constantly moving their legs and shifting their positions around during meetings, movies, or plays. Restless-leg symptoms tend to increase over the day and are particularly severe during the evening and at bedtime. If you have restless legs, consider eliminating caffeinated beverages altogether or at least after lunchtime.
How to cut down on caffeine: Switch to beverages that are half-caffeinated and half-decaffeinated. Confine your caffeine consumption to mornings up through lunchtime, with only decaffeinated beverages later in the day. Aim for a daily target of 10 to 12 ounces of caffeinated coffee or tea by the end of two weeks.