The best time to drink coffee

Researchers backed by the United States Army have started analysing the most efficient way to consume coffee.

Those researchers have developed an algorithm that may provide the key to optimising alertness with caffeine.

Caffeine is the most widely consumed stimulant to counter the effects of sleep loss on neurobehavioural performance. However, to be safe and most effective, it must be consumed at the right time and in the right amount. 

“We found that by using our algorithm, which determines when and how much caffeine a subject should consume, we can improve alertness by up to 64 per cent, while consuming the same total amount of caffeine,” said principal investigator and senior author Dr Jaques Reifman.

“Alternatively, a subject can reduce caffeine consumption by up to 65 per cent and still achieve equivalent improvements in alertness.”

According to the authors, these results suggest that the algorithm can tailor the timing and amount of caffeine to the particular sleep/wake schedule of each study condition to maximise its benefits.

“Our algorithm is the first quantitative tool that provides automated, customised guidance for safe and effective caffeine dosing to maximise alertness at the most needed times during any sleep-loss condition,” said Dr Reifman.

Scientists hope to incorporate the algorithm into a pre-existing online tool called 2B-Alert to let people find out what’s best for them.

The US Army also plans to release a corresponding 2B-Alert app so members of the public can take tests and input sleep and caffeine intake data to receive “sleep and caffeine schedules” to help them “optimise performance” in the future.

Read more about the US Army study.

What times do you use coffee to increase your alertness?

Related articles:
Coffee or tea – which is healthier?
Does coffee help you lose weight?
Could coffee stop clogged arteries?

Written by Ben

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