Dose-related sleep disturbances induced by coffee and caffeine

Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1976 Dec;20(6):682-9. doi: 10.1002/cpt1976206682.


In a 13-night sleep laboratory study, each of 18 normal young adult males twice received 1 cup of warm water, 1-, 2-, and 4-cup equivalents of regular coffee, a 4-cup equivalent of decaffeinated coffee, and a 4-cup equivalent of caffeine. All beverages were administered 30 min before bedtime according to a balanced Latin-square design. Regular coffee produced dose-related changes in most standard electroencephalogram-electrooculogram (EEG-EOG) sleep parameters, and the 4-cup equivalents of regular coffee and caffeine produced equivalent effects. Decaffeinated coffee had no effect. Regular coffee and caffeine caused rapid eye movement (REM) sleep to shift to the early part of the night and stages 3 and 4 sleep to shift to the later part. Coffee also produced dose-related changes in several subjects estimates of sleep characteristics. These results suggest that coffee and caffeine may be used in normal subjects to induce symptoms mimicking those of insomnia. Such a tool should promote further understanding of insomnia.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Caffeine / administration & dosage
  • Caffeine / pharmacology*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Coffee*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Electroencephalography
  • Electrooculography
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sleep / drug effects*
  • Sleep Stages / drug effects
  • Sleep, REM / drug effects
  • Time Factors


  • Coffee
  • Caffeine