Does coffee really make you more alert?


Via The Guardian:

The millions of people who depend on a shot of coffee to kickstart their day are no more alert than those who are not regular coffee drinkers, say researchers.

A cup of coffee, suggests a study, only counteracts the effects of caffeine withdrawal that has built up overnight.

“Someone who consumes caffeine regularly when they’re at work but not at weekends runs the risk of feeling a bit rubbish by Sunday,” said Peter Rogers, who led the research at Bristol University. “It’s better to stick with it or keep off it altogether.”

Infrequent coffee drinkers who reach for an emergency hit fare no better, experiencing heightened feelings of anxiety – and withdrawal symptoms the next day.

And:

Caffeine did not increase the alertness of any group above the levels of non-users who were given the placebo. But caffeine fiends who were given a placebo after abstaining from coffee for 16 hours felt less alert and experienced worse headaches than those who received their usual dose. Four people had to drop out of the study owing to the severity of their headaches.

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