Beat Caffeine Addiction, Then Stay Awake With Placebos

Beat Caffeine Addiction, Then Stay Awake With Placebos

Good news for those who get jitters, headaches, and really bad social graces when deprived of their caffeine fix—beating the habit and switching to a placebo can leave you feeling just as energised.

Photo by Kevin Lawver.

After dividing up 16 “regular caffeine users” (sounds so clinical!) into two groups, researchers gave half of them the equivalent of 20 ounces of strong coffee per day, while the other half thought they were getting the same fix. The big reveal is that everyone, getting real caffeine or fake, saw their brain getting more blood flow and activity, and the placebo crew felt just as awake or tired throughout the day as their temporarily lucky counterparts.

Unfortunately, the placebo takers also had unmistakable headaches and, temporarily, occasional decreases in alertness or energy. Once a heavy caffeine dependent got past their withdrawal symptoms, however, it appears their brain was happy to keep up the illusion that a caffeine-free beverage break at 3 p.m. was just as good as the real thing.

The full 13-page PDF study results are available at Springerlink (direct link). Tell us if you’ve had your own successful switch to a placebo, or quite the opposite, in the comments. It May Not Be Caffeine Keeping You Awake [via Source]


  • Coke is poisonous, for you and the environment.
    stop drinking it.
    Sustainably sourced (preferably organic) coffee and tea are actually not that bad for you. Fake sugar water is toxic.

  • I recently kicked the coffee habit, but I am being driven mad by the smells and the insane amount of coffee outlets in the city, MMmmm Coffeeee just a sniff of your expresso please!..
    – I have an apple in the morning rather then a coffee and that helps, Drink lots of water to keep hydrated – and have a back up plan like Tea available if you really need a coffee. Have the tea 1st and that will subdue your craving.

    I thought no coffee would improve my sleep, but I am still sleeping the same amount of time 5-6 hours a night, but my sleep is better and I don’t wake up as often.

  • I’ve recently kicked the habit and I can attest to this. I’ve replaced my morning coffee with orange juice and toast at work, and it’s still Mr. Crankypants till I get my morning fix. Which is funny because I know no caffeine is entering my system. I think my body is just looking for an excuse to be irritated.

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