I’ve never really been a tea person, and I absolutely hate coffee. Mornings are usually rough for me as I am groggy and unmotivated. My friends who drink coffee in the morning say the caffeine helps them wake up and get work done, and they tell me I should try drinking tea if I really don’t like coffee. Some tell me to suck it up and drink the coffee anyway because I’ll really feel a difference. But my question is, does caffeine really increase productivity?
Here’s how it works: the caffeine cross the blood-brain barrier, which is designed to protect the CNS, or central nervous system, from harmful chemicals in the bloodstream. It then moves on to block the chemical adenosine, which inhibits the release of a variety of chemicals into the brain, reducing energy levels. When it is blocked, drowsiness and fatigue decrease and physical and cognitive performance are enhanced.
There have been several studies that show caffeine improves alertness and cognitive functioning, and it makes people more encouraging of one another in social circumstances. Furthermore, another study showed that higher caffeine consumption reduced risk of accidents in the workplace. There is some evidence, though, that increased alertness can be the cause of the placebo effect. A study at the University of East London, 88 habitual coffee drinkers were randomly given cups of coffee, some caffeinated and some decaffeinated. Each individual participated in tasks that evaluated reaction time and more. In the tasks that measured reaction time, those who believed they consumed caffeine were more accurate, even if they had decaf coffee. Those who had caffeine but were told they drank decaf did not show improvement in reaction time.
Although it does have positive effects, caffeine consumption can be harmful. At least 600 mg of it can bring on “the jitters”. Those sensitive to it can feel nervousness and irritability after just a small dose. For those with anxiety, caffeine can decrease productivity, but for those with depression, it could help productivity.
Overall, there are a variety of benefits and costs associated with the consumption of caffeine. Also, it seems to react differently in each individual. After all the research done on this topic, I feel confident to say that caffeine does in fact increase productivity. I guess I should start taking a liking to coffee!