It's not often that a neuroscientist comments on the topic of caffeine consumption, but Chris Chatham, author of Caffeine: A User's Guide to Getting Optimally Wired, shared some of his tips for those looking to get the biggest cognitive boost for their caffeinated buck. Here are his suggestions.
Photo by Colin and Sarah Northway.
In an excerpt from his book posted at Business Insider, Chatham suggest that moderate doses, say, 20-200mg of caffeine per hour, may be optimal for that mental boost. Considering an average cup of filtered or brewed coffee has between 100-150mg of caffeine per cup, one cup per hour is more than enough. In fact, you could probably get away with less coffee every hour if the cognitive benefits are all you're aiming for. (Let's not forget, caffeine has some health benefits and definitely does some interesting things to your brain.)
While you have that caffeine in your system, Chatham also suggests that you play to your strengths and do things that you know how to do well and take little mental wrangling. The cognitive benefits you get from caffeine, as we've explained before, help you work faster and harder. Caffeine doesn't, however, make challenging problems easier to solve. Make sure that those early hours where you're nursing a few cups are filled with tasks that are easy for you to tackle and burn through, and your productivity will benefit.
Chatham also suggests you play to caffeine's strengths as well as your own -- your body's absorption will vary depending on what you have in your system, so a little sugar or even grapefruit for breakfast will keep it around a little longer, while smoking a cigarette isn't a great idea (the nicotine speeds up your body's metabolism of caffeine). What do you think? Does your experience match these conclusions, or do you drink enough coffee through the day that you don't notice? Sound off below.
Advice On How To Use Caffeine-From A Neuroscientist [Business Insider]