Surprising Things That Keep You Up At Night—Literally

Ever decide, as the clock ticks closer to bedtime, that you’re in the mood for a snack? Dinner just wasn’t filling enough, or maybe your sweet tooth is kicking in. What you may not realize, as you take a bite of your 3-scoop chocolate ice cream, is some of these snacks contain a surprising amount of caffeine.

Let’s get a basic reference for the average consumption of caffeine. According to Mayo Clinic, one cup of coffee generally has 200 milligrams of caffeine. Black tea, which has the most amount of caffeine when it comes to brewed tea, has anywhere from 40-70 milligrams. And a 12-ounce Coca-Cola has 34 milligrams of caffeine.

Here are a few items that, while satisfying to the taste, may leave you staring at the ceiling for hours, desperately counting sheep. Next time you’re traveling, avoid these and you’ll fall asleep as soon as your head hits the hotel pillow.


Caffeine is naturally present in cocoa beans. This means that any time you have chocolate-flavored treats, you’re also taking in caffeine. If you want to gauge just how much of a jolt you may receive, keep in mind that the darker the chocolate, the higher the caffeine content. A piece of 1.5 ounce, 80% dark chocolate often contains 40 milligrams (or more!) of caffeine.

Decaf Coffee

While those looking to forgo the caffeine in their morning coffee often reach for the decaf pot, it’s important to note that this option still commonly has caffeine. While it is not nearly as much as regular coffee, if you’re sensitive to caffeine’s stimulating affects, you may want to avoid it. A study, published in Journal of Analytical Toxicology, tested various decaf coffees, ordered at restaurants, for caffeine. All but one contained the substance—with amounts ranging from 8-14 milligrams.


Cola is commonly referenced as a type of soda high in caffeine. Turns out, caffeine is pretty high in most sodas—no matter if the name ends in ‘cola’. If you’re looking to kick back and relax, avoid reaching for Dr. Pepper (42 milligrams) or Mellow Yellow (52 milligrams). Stick to carbonated soda water to give you that crisp, bubbly taste without the excessive sugar and caffeine.


Author: Allison Klibanoff