Can Chocolate Keep You Awake?
If you love to snack on chocolate regularly, you probably know that it contains caffeine. Does this mean that eating a chocolate bar can have the same effect as drinking a cup of coffee? Will eating chocolate too late at night cause you to lie awake in bed, tossing and turning all night as you frantically try to fall asleep? Although chocolate does contain some caffeine, there probably isn’t enough to give you superhuman energy or keep you awake at night.
Caffeine levels vary by the type of chocolate that you eat. White chocolate has almost no caffeine, and milk chocolate has a little bit, with dark chocolate being the most caffeinated of the bunch. However, even the strongest dark chocolates contain significantly less caffeine than a single cup of regular coffee. Let’s look at some of the levels.
White Chocolate, 1 standard bar = <1 milligram
Milk Chocolate, 1 standard bar = 9 milligrams
Dark Chocolate, 1 standard bar = 40 – 50 milligrams
Coffee, Black, 1 cup = 95 milligrams
Based on the numbers, even the most potent dark chocolate (which is usually used for cooking rather than snacking) only contains half the amount of caffeine as a cup of black coffee. Milk chocolate and white chocolate contain even less caffeine to the point where it is highly unlikely to affect your ability to sleep. When it comes to dark chocolate, there are plenty of varieties that may only contain 20-30 milligrams. Depending on your sensitivity to caffeine, these may give you a slight boost of energy, but it probably isn’t enough to cause restlessness.
A Daytime Boost?
If you were hoping for the opposite results – that chocolate might give you a boost in the middle of the day when you need it most, you might feel disappointed by our findings. However, that doesn’t mean that there are no benefits to snacking on chocolate in the afternoon. It can still release endorphins in your brain that will help you think more clearly and elevate your mood. Combined with a cup of coffee, this may be just what you need to get through the final hours of work without getting the negative effect of being unable to sleep later in the night.
Because chocolate is also caloric, you’ll get energy from that, especially if you are hungry. Additionally, chocolate contains powerful antioxidants that can boost your immune system, improve your cardiac health, and make you happier. Regular consumption of these could lead to a healthier overall life, giving you more energy daily but allowing you to sleep peacefully at night (which is also part of a healthy lifestyle).
So, next time you’re tempted by that slice of chocolate cake at dessert, don’t worry about whether it will keep you up at night. You’d likely need to eat about 4 more slices to reach that level of caffeination. You can sleep peacefully knowing that your preference for chocolate has far more benefits for your health.