Kombucha is a tasty drink that many people such as myself, like not only for enjoyment, but also to reap its health benefits. One concern some kombucha drinkers have is whether or not it’s ok to drink kombucha at night.
Kombucha has some caffeine in it since it's made from caffeinated green or black tea. This amount of caffeine however is low enough, usually between 15-50mg per bottle depending on the brand, for most people to be able to drink kombucha at night without it disrupting their sleep.
In this article I’ll go over any concerns you may have about drinking kombucha at night so that you can know everything you need to make the decision about whether or not to do it. Let’s get started!
How Kombucha’s Caffeine Can Disrupt Your Sleep
The main thing that would keep someone from wanting to drink kombucha at night is that the caffeine in it may disrupt their sleep.
The concern over caffeine disrupting sleep is a valid one. Many studies have found that drinking caffeine before bed not only makes it harder for you to fall asleep, but can also reduce the amount of deep sleep that you enjoy (sleepeducation.org).
One study found that consuming caffeine 6 hours before bedtime reduced the participants total sleep time by an entire hour!
So since kombucha has caffeine in it, we shouldn’t drink it at night if we want to get good sleep right? Well the answer isn’t that simple.
There are many factors that can affect whether or not a caffeinated drink affects your sleep, including the amount of caffeine in the drink, how long before bed you drink it, and your body’s speed of caffeine metabolism.
Let’s talk about each of these things to figure out whether or not you can drink kombucha at night.
How Much Caffeine is In Kombucha?
In every bottle of kombucha there is some caffeine. The good news for people who want to drink kombucha at night is that this amount of caffeine is extremely low.
The reason that kombucha has caffeine in it at all is because every bottle begins as caffeinated green or black tea. The tea used to make kombucha needs to be caffeinated because the living bacteria and yeast culture that ferments kombucha uses the caffeine as a nutrient to work and stay alive.
The interesting thing is that while the initial caffeine level of kombucha is 25-45 mg per 8oz, the finished booch will only have around 15mg per 8oz. This is because as the bacteria culture ferments, it eats the caffeine of the tea, resulting in less caffeine in the end than there was at the beginning.
To help give you an idea of the amount of caffeine in kombucha I created the table below. It’s worth noting that while I used 16oz as the size of the drink for the table since most bottles of kombucha are around this size, drinks like coffee and tea are usually drunk in smaller quantities of around 8oz.
Mg of Caffeine Per 16oz of Popular Caffeinated Beverages
How Long Before Bed Should I Drink Kombucha?
The next factor that will influence whether or not the caffeine in kombucha is going to disrupt your sleep is how long before bed you drink it.
Obviously if you were to drink a bottle of kombucha 15 minutes before bed, you’re going to feel the effects of the caffeine more when you try to go to sleep than you would if you drank that bottle 4 hours before bed.
While the speed at which the body metabolizes caffeine will change from person to person (more on this in a minute) most medical experts recommend you don’t drink any caffeine for up to 4-6 hours before you go to bed (VeryWellHealth).
So if your definition of “drinking kombucha at night” is drinking a bottle when it gets dark outside at 6pm, you’re going to be completely fine if you go to bed at 10-12pm. But, if drinking kombucha at night for you means that you have a bottle at 9pm and go to bed at 10pm, your sleep could be disrupted by the caffeine.
The Speed of Your Caffeine Metabolism
This last factor that you’ll need to consider before you drink kombucha at night is the one that will vary most from person to person: the speed of your caffeine metabolism.
Ever noticed how some people you know can drink 5 cups of coffee and 2 energy drinks and feel nothing, while others are bouncing off the walls after 1 cup of tea? The reason that some people feel the effects of caffeine more than others is because of the difference in the speed of their caffeine metabolism
Caffeine metabolism is basically just your body using and then getting rid of the caffeine you drink. And everyone's body does it at a different speed.
If you're a slow caffeine metabolizer, you may feel the effects of caffeine after drinking a bottle kombucha for hours afterwards. But if you’re a fast caffeine metabolizer, your body processes caffeine so efficiently and quickly that you never get a chance to feel its effects, even after drinking a lot of it.
So even though kombucha only has a small amount of caffeine in it, if you are a slow caffeine metabolizer and are sensitive to caffeine you might not be able to drink it at night because your body is going to feel the effects for a long time.
Whereas if you metabolize caffeine quickly and aren't particularly effected by it, going to bed after a bottle of kombucha may feel like normal.
Before we come to a conclusion about whether or not you should drink kombucha at night, I need to give the people who brew kombucha at home a few tips to lower its caffeine content.
How to Lower the Caffeine in Home Brewed Kombucha
If you homebrew kombucha (if you don’t yet, you should) and would like to lower the amount of caffeine in it so you can drink it at night, here are a few adjustments you can make to your brewing process.
1. Using green or oolong tea instead of black will reduce the amount of caffeine in your brew since black tea usually has more caffeine.
2. Fermenting your kombucha longer will give the SCOBY more time to eat the caffeine
3. You can try to brew with decaffeinated tea, however the lack of caffeine could make the brew turn out poorly or damage the SCOBY due to lack of nutrition. So if you’re going to try to make kombucha with decaffeinated tea, don’t do it with your main SCOBY.
So Can I Drink Kombucha At Night?
If you drink a kombucha low in caffeine, a few hours before bed, and aren't particularly sensitive to the effects of caffeine, I don’t see a reason why not to drink kombucha at night.
At the end of the day, you’re probably just going to have to try it and see. Worst case scenario is you have a little bit harder time falling asleep that night and then you know not to do it again.
If you find that your body doesn’t have a problem going to sleep after a bottle of kombucha, I actually recommend you drink kombucha at night as a substitute for alcohol.
Not only is alcohol a poison that can be dangerous for your health, but drinking it before bed can disrupt deep REM sleep, leading to daytime drowsiness and poor concentration the next day (WebMD).
Kombucha, even with its small amount of caffeine, can be drunk at night as a healthy alternative to a can of beer or glass of wine since its taste closely resembles that of alcohol. So if you regularly drink at night, try replacing it with a bottle of kombucha and see how it goes. It could help you sleep better!
I hope this article was helpful for you! If you’d like to learn more about kombucha, its health benefits, and even how to brew it yourself, be sure to check out the rest of my website!