Does Caffeine Make Sleep Apnea Worse?

No, if used in moderation. More research is needed. 

If you suffer from sleep apnea, you may wonder if the energy drinks, caffeine pills, and sodas that you keep consuming can worsen your condition.

Sleep apnea is a serious breathing disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops during sleep. People suffering from this disorder may experience episodes of shallow or paused/stopped breathing several times per hour during their sleep. Over time, this can lead to daytime drowsiness and even heart problems and stroke.

While there isn’t much research exploring the connection between caffeine consumption and sleep apnea, experts have noticed a pattern. People with sleep apnea tend to be more sensitive to its effects than those without it. In this article, we discuss whether caffeine makes sleep apnea worse or not.

Does caffeine make sleep apnea worse?

Two different studies have been completed to observe the affects of caffeine on patients with sleep apnea.

A study where certain caffeine made sleep apnea worse

Recent studies have revealed that not all caffeine is created equal when it comes to obstructive sleep apnea disorders. One study, by the Chest Journal investigated the connection between caffeinated beverages and sleep apnea symptoms, and the results are enlightening.

Those who consumed caffeinated soda experienced more severe sleep-disordered breathing compared to those who consumed caffeine through tea or coffee. The research team concluded that while high levels of caffeine can trigger an exacerbation in some cases, other forms of the drug might be less likely to lead to the same outcome.

This is promising news for people who require a daily dose of caffeine in order to feel energized, especially individuals suffering with sleep apnea related issues. It is important to note that everyone reacts differently when consuming different types and quantities of caffeine, so further research should delve deeper into this notion before any sweeping conclusions are drawn up about certain caffeine being “okay” for obstructive sleep apnea.

A study where caffeine made sleep apnea better

The results of studies looking at the connection between caffeine and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are varied and inconclusive. However, certain findings appear to point towards a relationship between doses of daily caffeine and improved cognitive performance in OSA patients.

One study published in the medical journal Current Neuropharmacology found that an above-average amount of caffeine consumption resulted in improved cognitive performance as compared to those with lower amounts of caffeine intake. Similarly, additional research concluded that higher dosages of daily caffeine led individuals suffering from OSA to experience less cognitive impairment, suggesting that it can be beneficial for such individuals. Interestingly, doctors also sometimes prescribe caffeine to premature infants as a preventive measure against episodes of interrupted breathing during sleep.

While further research is needed before there can be concrete answers about how caffeine might affect those with obstructive sleep apnea, it appears that it could potentially offer benefits for people suffering from this condition, especially when taken in moderate doses. The key is understanding the effects and side-effects at different levels of intake so these individuals can make informed decisions on what they plan to consume if they suffer from OSA.

How can caffeine make sleep apnea worse?

Sadly, there are some unforeseen ways where too much caffeine can make sleep apnea worse. They are:

Disrupted Sleep Cycle

Too much caffeine can disrupt your sleep cycle and make you feel tired every day which results in you wanting more caffeine.

Exhaustion is a cycle that many of us find ourselves in on a regular basis. We wake up tired, have a cup (or few) of coffee to get going, and then come late afternoon the fatigue hits again. This can be especially harmful for those suffering from sleep apnea who need every bit of quality sleep they can get.

The problem is, caffeine takes about 4 to 6 hours to completely leave our system, meaning our afternoon tea can lead to difficulty in falling asleep or waking up throughout the night. To break the cycle of exhaustion it’s best to avoid any form of caffeine after noon so when you lay down to sleep your body will not be under its effects. Taking this step could greatly improve the amount and quality of restful sleep you are able to achieve each night!

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) is a dangerous condition that puts individuals at risk of serious illness or even death. It’s linked to conditions like stroke and heart attack as well as other health concerns such as sleep apnea. The good news is there are ways to lower blood pressure and reduce these risks.

One way to lower your blood pressure is to both limit the amount of caffeine you consume and make sure you get enough sleep each night. Caffeine can raise your blood pressure a few points or even significantly for some people, so cutting back on your intake may be beneficial for reducing hypertension.

Similarly, if you have difficulty sleeping or suffer from sleep apnea, treating it can help lower your blood pressure as well. Eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly can also help keep your blood pressure at normal levels. It’s important not just to pay attention to issues like high caffeine intake or lack of adequate rest but also consider lifestyle changes to help reduce hypertension before any serious health issues arise due to high blood pressure.

Bad Mood

One of the key signs of sleep apnea is depression or experiencing sudden mood swings. In addition, many people also feel anxious and tired after drinking too much caffeine throughout the day. This combination can be incredibly hard to manage for someone, as it can lead to constant emotional distress that affects not just their own mental wellbeing but their relationships with other people as well.

However, improving your mood does not have to be an impossible task. For those with sleep apnea, making sure they get enough rest each night is essential since a lack of quality sleep can lead to feeling down even more.

In addition, cutting back on caffeine intake can make a big difference in controlling emotions and allowing better cognitive control. When individuals can find balance between rest and caffeinated beverages, they’re more likely to keep their moods in check and become more content with their lives.

Weight Gain

When it comes to drinking coffee, most of us love to add those fatty things like milk, cream and sugar. While this can make for a rich drink that is particularly tasty, these extras also contain plenty of extra calories and sugar.

When we make sugary caffeinated drinks such as lattes part of our daily routine, it’s easy to begin packing on the pounds. As our waistline becomes bigger and thicker, we become more at risk for sleep apnea as obesity is one of the primary causes of this medical disorder.

In order to combat sleep apnea with something as simple as cutting back caffeine intake, its best to start slow and steady. Cutting out one sugary latte a day for a full week can quickly make us start feeling the needed changes in our diet.

The extra pounds will begin melting away from the body so that sleep apnea symptoms diminish in turn. With moderation and smart living practices, even something as simple as reducing caffeine intake can have benefits that last over time.


Even though the right amount of caffeine may not harmful, and can even raise cognitive awareness, it is important to recognize the potential risks associated with high caffeine intake and sleep apnea.

Caffeine can increase blood pressure and disrupt quality of sleep, both of which can aggravate symptoms of sleep apnea. It is important that individuals suffering from this disorder are aware of the risks associated with consuming too much caffeine.

To reduce the risk of exacerbating symptoms, it is best to limit caffeine intake and make sure to get adequate restful sleep. Additionally, making lifestyle changes such as reducing sugar intake and exercising regularly can also help reduce the risk of developing or worsening sleep apnea.

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