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Health & Lifestyle

Naughty Or Nice? Uk Chains Christmas Drinks Ranked By Caffeine Content

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Is Pret or Costa your go-to for your favourite festive drink? Well, bad news - your everyday drink could be wreaking havoc on your sleep without you even realising… 

The sleep experts at MattressNextDay have uncovered the caffeine content of every Christmas-themed coffee currently being sold by Pret, Costa, McDonald's, Greggs and Starbucks. And their study has revealed some interesting sleep-related facts about your favourite seasonal sip.

Women's hands holding a Starbucks cup and a Costa cup.

Pret’s Christmas drinks have the same caffeine equivalent of SIX instant coffees

Many studies show that up to 400mg of caffeine per day is the maximum amount you should be consuming. Any more can make it harder to fall asleep, reduce your total sleep time by 30 minutes, or reduce the amount of deep, slow-wave sleep you get, which is critical for feeling refreshed the next day.

the maximum recommended daily caffeine intake

As part of our study, we reached out to six popular coffee chains and requested information about how much caffeine is in a regular-sized version of every Christmas coffee on their menu. This then revealed the following four chains as having the highest caffeine content:

The Naughty List: The Highest Caffeine Culprits
Coffee chainChristmas drinksCaffeine amount in a single regular-sized coffeeHow the chain coffee compares to the caffeine intake of an instant coffee (60mg)
PretGingerbread latte, salted caramel latte360mg6 cups of coffee
CostaSticky toffee latte (iced or hot), roasted hazelnut latte, gingerbread latte200mg3 ⅓ cups of coffee
McDonald’sCaramel waffle latte, toffee nut latte153mg2 ½ cups of coffee
GreggsOrange mocha, mint mocha, vanilla latte, salted caramel latte150mg2 ½ cups of coffee 

Dubbed as having the highest caffeine content is Pret, who are currently selling a Gingerbread Latte and a Salted Caramel Latte as part of the festive menu. Each drink contains an alarming 360mg of caffeine per serving, which is the equivalent of six instant coffees. If you were to drink your coffee with another festive treat, an average-sized bar of dark chocolate, this would take you over the daily limit of caffeine (400mg) due to the chocolate containing just short of 70mg.

Costa Coffee is in second place with its various festive drinks containing around 200mg of caffeine, which is the equivalent of 3 ⅓ cups of instant coffee.

Even seemingly innocent fast food options like McDonald's Caramel Waffle Latte and Toffee Nut Latte contain 153mg, which is then closely followed by Greggs’s Christmas lineup that comes with a caffeine punch of 150mg. Both coffee chains' festive drinks, therefore, contain around 2 ½ cups of instant coffee.

The frontage of a branch of Caffe Nero, a coffeehouse company based in London, England. Established in 1997 by Gerry Ford.

Sip smart, sleep sound: Stop drinking these festive four chains' coffees at least eight hours before your bedtime

Studies report that it takes a minimum of eight hours to metabolise just half of anything you consume, so if you buy a festive coffee from Pret, Costa, Mcdonald's or Greggs, make sure it’s not within this timeframe. For example, if you typically go to bed at 10pm, make sure to drink your last (or first) coffee at 2pm at the latest.

Starbucks’ and Caffè Nero’s Christmas coffees are the best for late-night shopping or social plans

If you need to drink coffee beyond the 8-hour mark, whether you need energy for after-work Christmas shopping or festive social plans, Starbucks and Caffè Nero are the best due to their high caffeine content.

The Nice List: The Lowest Caffeine Culprits
Coffee chainChristmas drinksCaffeine amount in a single regular-sized coffeeHow the chain coffee compares to the caffeine intake of an instant coffee (60mg)
Caffè NeroFlorentine mocha, panettone latte (hot or iced) 120mg2 cups of coffee
StarbucksHot versions: Toffee nut latte, gingerbread latte, caramel waffle latte, chocolatey gingerbread latte, eggnog latte66.2mg1 cup of coffee
StarbucksFrappuccino versions of the above32.7mg½ cup of coffee

While on the lower end, Caffè Nero serves up Panettone Latte, Florentine Mocha, and Panettone Iced Latte, each with 120mg of caffeine. This is the equivalent of two cups of instant coffee and, therefore, should still be drunk with caution and not too close to your bedtime.  

As for the coffee chain with the lowest caffeine content, Starbucks is the clear winner. Their hot festive drinks only contain 66.2mg which is six times less than Pret’s festive drinks. However, the frappuccino versions of the coffees contain even less - 32.7mg of caffeine. So, if you don't mind the chill, we'd recommend a frappucino to fuel your last minute Christmas shopping.

In the evening, we'd suggest drinking a cup of calming chamomile tea to help you relax ready for sleep. You can read more about the effects of tea on sleep in our post on The 6 Most Effective Sleep-Enhancing Teas. If you need even more help getting to sleep, you can read hundreds of sleep tips in our blog, Snooze News.

An image of the author, Martin Seeley, Senior Sleep Expert Martin Seeley, Senior Sleep Expert Bio & articles

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