Are you using caffeine to replace lost hours of sleep? Your efforts may be wasteful, according to recent research from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. The study found that after three nights of sleeping only 5 hours, caffeine no longer has the same effect on alertness or performance.
The researchers behind the study restricted 48 individuals to five hours of sleep three nights in a row, then administered either 200 mg of caffeine or a placebo twice a day. To assess the effect of sleep restriction and caffeine, participants completed cognitive tasks and underwent tests that measured mood, sleepiness and wakefulness.
"We were particularly surprised that the performance advantage conferred by two daily 200 mg doses of caffeine was lost after three nights of sleep restriction," lead author Tracy Jill Doty, research scientist at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, said in a release. "These results are important, because caffeine is a stimulant widely used to counteract performance decline following periods of restricted sleep."
However, in an interview with Mic, Doty added that upping the caffeine may change the results, though she added that the approach isn't advisable, even if it does possibly curb some of the effects of sleeplessness.
Past research has suggested that excessive caffeine consumption can actually inhibit sleep, in some cases going as far as causing insomnia. Because of other negative health impacts, it's wise to limit caffeine consumption. With this new research, it seems you're better off working on getting more sleep than trying to supplement it with cups of coffee.
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