... or at the very least, understand it better.
We've all heard the insomnia advice urging us to avoid caffeine after 3pm (although some insomnia sufferers claim that coffee actually helps them sleep).
Rather than being the insomnia boogeyman, it turns out that caffeine may help us better understand insomnia and perhaps even lead to new insomnia treatments.
A recent study wanted to determine the exact genes that are affected by caffeine.
Researchers did this by asking over 2,000 twins whether caffeine affected their ability to sleep.
All those who answered always, usually or sometimes, were placed in a group, making up around a third of the participants.
Researchers found that three genes in particular appeared to be responsible for caffeine-related sleep disturbance - the ADORA2A gene, the PRIMA1 gene and the MTNR1B gene.
Although this may not sound too important, it opens the way for additional research since once we know how caffeine inhibits sleep, we may be able to use that knowledge to better understand the biological mechanisms behind various forms of insomnia.
Last updated: August 13, 2013