There’s good news for coffee fiends who can’t function properly before their first hit of morning caffeine. Researchers have just designed a web-based caffeine optimisation tool which can tell drinkers how much caffeine they need to drink in order to reach their maximum state of alertness. In other words they’ve found the solution to consuming just enough caffeine to help you perform at capacity without pushing you over the edge.
The latest data comes via the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine who designed a tool in the form of an algorithm. It works by tracking multiple sleep-deprivation and shift-work scenarios before calculating a caffeine consumption guide.
Why is this so important? When researchers applied it to modern coffee drinking practices, they discovered that people either required on average 40 per cent less caffeine or enhanced alertness by an additional 40 per cent.
“The tool allows an individual to optimise the beneficial effects of caffeine while minimising its consumption,” explained the study’s lead author Jaques Reifman.
Take for example a night where you’ve been out on the town partying and work is scheduled for the next day. With a client presentation scheduled for 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., you’ll need to be at your peak levels of alertness – but you don’t want the issues (bowel movement, jitters, hyperactivity) of consuming too many coffees. The algorithm will tell the user exactly how much caffeine they need to consume to be in the sweet spot.
“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 percent, while consuming the same total amount of caffeine,” added Reifman.
According to existing research, the effects of too much caffeine can contribute to anxiety and sleep loss based on varying individuals. A recent article we wrote looked at the maximum number of coffees you can safely drink in a day and revealed some interesting points.
“Most people would agree that if you drink a lot of coffee, you might feel jittery, irritable or perhaps even nauseas – that’s because caffeine helps your body work faster and harder, but it is also likely to suggest that you may have reached your limit for the time being,” explained Professor Elina Hyppönen of the Australian Centre for Precision Health.
“We also know that risk of cardiovascular disease increases with high blood pressure, a known consequence of excess caffeine consumption. In order to maintain a healthy heart and a healthy blood pressure, people must limit their coffees to fewer than six cups a day – based on our data six was the tipping point where caffeine started to negatively affect cardiovascular risk.”
If it’s any consolation, this latest tool should help reinforce the amount of caffeine intake from regular drinkers. Currently this algorithm is accessible to the public online but registration is required. It also requires users to manually input their desired sleep, wake and peak alertness schedule alongside caffeine dosage and intake times. The formula then generates the stats for three levels of alertness to choose from.
Not bad if you’re looking for a mental performance hack that won’t do serious damage to your mind and body.