If you start each morning with a cup of coffee, you’ll know how little it takes to save you from the brink of going back to bed and never waking up again. It should not be surprising, therefore, that many of the foods we consume on a daily basis can have the same effect due to hidden caffeine. Can caffeine really be keeping you awake when you don’t intend it to? Hidden caffeine may be seriously affecting your sleep and worth a closer examination.

You know enough not to consume a cup of coffee at night if caffeine affects you but did you know caffeine can be hidden in many common foods and drinks? Caffeine is only listed as an ingredient if it is added to the product. Naturally occurring caffeine can fly safely under the radar in some of the following:

Chocolate: Many treats can have derivatives of cocoa plants in their ingredients. Chocolate shouldn’t come as much of a surprise since it is birthed from the same plant that coffee is. A general rule of thumb is the darker the chocolate, the higher the likely caffeine content.

Decaffeinated Coffee: This is the biggest betrayal of them all. Those who are looking to enjoy the taste of coffee without the burden of a “no sleep for 6 hours” commitment should know that even decaf coffee contains around 12 milligrams of caffeine, which is enough to keep sleep at bay.

Coffee-Flavoured Treats: Chances are if the ice cream, chocolate, icing, or candy that you eat has a coffee flavouring, it may have a few milligrams of caffeine in the mix. Combined with the fact that most people can never stop at just one candy, or spoonful of ice cream, you may want to keep away from these kinds of products in the evening.

Headache medication: According to sleep.org, caffeine can be a useful additive in headache remedies such as Excedrin and Bayer because it helps the medication do its job. This is not exactly common knowledge but could have significant ramifications for those of us who struggle with sleep. It is probably best to avoid these medications in the evenings or consult your pharmacist about alternatives which do not use caffeine.

Beer: Some craft breweries working on special recipes will add coffee to the mix for some added punch. You will be none the wiser until you are wide awake at 3 am staring at the ceiling wondering what is making you feel revved instead of relaxed. The alcohol in beer can also keep you awake so combined with caffeine; it’s actually a recipe for sleep disaster!

There are many other caffeine products that will continue to go unnoticed by the population for time. The best you can do is stay vigilant and informed if you value your sleep. Other hidden caffeine products mentioned by sources such as the Harvard Health Letter are: Breakfast foods like “waffles, syrups, oatmeals, yogurt, chocolate-flavoured cereals, breakfast bars, donuts, granola bars.” and drinks such as: “colas, root beers, cream sodas, orange sodas, ginger ales, lemon-lime sodas, cocoa, chocolate milk, energy water, energy drinks, flavoured liqueurs, bottled iced coffee, iced tea, and iced cappuccino drinks.”

Zenbev Drink Mix can come to the rescue any time you are in need of a healthy, natural sleep aid. Zenbev is the best natural sleep product that is available over the counter. Full disclosure: there is a small amount of natural chocolate in the Chocolate Zenbev, so please note – while it is delicious, if you are sensitive to caffeine, it may have to work a little harder to help you sleep. If you are sensitive to and serious about avoiding caffeine before bed, Lemon Zenbev is your best bet. The soothing lemon flavour is easy to take stirred in hot water or mixed in a healthy smoothie. Sleep is a complex process. It pays to be aware of the many variables that can affect your sleep. Arm yourself with the best information to clear the hurdles that may be between you and great sleep.