Adenosine is a chemical molecule that is involved in sleep. When adenosine is produced, it causes the sensation of sleepiness. Adenosine can also help widen blood vessels and control the heart rhythm.

Adenosine and sleep

The longer you are awake during the day, the higher adenosine levels rise. When a lot of adenosine builds up, this molecule slows down brain and body processes and makes you feel more tired. It can also lead to deeper, more restorative sleep.

Consistent intake of caffeine can interfere with sleep because it blocks the receptors for adenosine.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Colleen Ehrnstrom's profile picture
Dr. Colleen Ehrnstrom, PhD

Dr. Colleen Ehrnstrom is a licensed clinical psychologist with a specialty practice in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Areas of expertise include insomnia and other sleep disorders, anxiety, and depression.

Dr. Ehrnstrom is not a medical provider and is not providing any recommendations regarding medications. Rather, she is sharing and reviewing the research as it relates to education when learning how best to treat insomnia.

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