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How Caffeine Affects Sleep and Productivity: The Surprising Truth Revealed

Here’s a wake-up call: If you’re sleep deprived, a recent study from Michigan State University suggests caffeine may not be the productivity booster many people believe it to be.

The scientists found that while caffeine may make you more alert and focused, it won’t help you do your best thinking.

Specifically, lack of sleep had a negative effect on cognitive functions associated with problem-solving, multi-tasking, and impulse inhibition.

And “for a large number of participants,” consuming caffeine didn’t make up for the lack of sleep.

That doesn’t mean caffeine offers zero benefits. But with or without caffeine, your work is likely to be more disorganized after a poor night of sleep, say the researchers.

What’s more, lack of sleep can make you grumpier in your social relationships, more frustrated in daily life, and less able to manage your feelings and emotions - all of which can seriously mess with your eating behaviours.

While some people don’t need as much sleep as others, what you’ve probably been told is a good guideline: The vast majority of adults need seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Nevertheless, this depends on our unique physiology, where feeling rested is a good measure of sufficient sleep.



Stepan ME, Altmann EM, Fenn KM. Caffeine selectively mitigates cognitive deficits caused by sleep deprivation. J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 2021 May 20. PMID: 34014758


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