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Regular caffeine intake attenuates REM sleep promotion and sleep quality in healthy men

By Janine Weibel, Yu-Shiuan Lin, Hans-Peter Landolt, Christian Berthomier, Marie Brandewinder, Joshua Kistler, Sophia Rehm, Katharina M. Rentsch, Martin Meyer, Stefan Borgwardt, Christian Cajochen, Carolin F. Reichert

Posted 20 Sep 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.09.18.291039

Acute caffeine intake can attenuate homeostatic sleep pressure and worsen sleep quality. Besides, caffeine intake – particularly in high doses and close to bedtime – may also affect circadian-regulated REM sleep promotion, an important determinant of subjective sleep quality. However, it is not known whether such changes persist under chronic caffeine consumption during daytime. Twenty male caffeine consumers (26.4 ± 4 years old, habitual caffeine intake 478.1 ± 102.8 mg/day) participated in a double-blind crossover study. Each volunteer completed a caffeine (3 × 150 mg caffeine daily), a withdrawal (3 × 150 mg caffeine for eight days then placebo), and a placebo condition. After ten days of controlled intake and a fixed sleep-wake cycle, we recorded 8 h of electroencephalography starting 5 h after habitual bedtime (i.e., start on average at 04:22 am which is around the peak of circadian REM sleep promotion). A 60 min evening nap preceded each sleep episode and reduced high sleep pressure levels. While total sleep time and sleep architecture did not significantly differ between the three conditions, REM latency was longer after daily caffeine intake compared to both placebo and withdrawal. Moreover, the accumulation of REM sleep proportion was slower, and volunteers reported more difficulties at awakening after sleep and feeling more tired upon wake-up in the caffeine condition compared to placebo. Our data indicate that besides acute also regular daytime caffeine intake affects REM sleep regulation in men. We have evidence that regular caffeine intake during daytime weakens circadian sleep promotion when compared to placebo. Moreover, the observed caffeine-induced deterioration in the quality of awakening may suggest a potential motive to reinstate caffeine intake after sleep. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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