Caffeine is an integral part of many people’s daily lives, with most citing their morning coffee as their fuel for the day ahead. Recent research published by John Hopkins Medical School suggests that the effects of caffeine may actually be more detrimental than beneficial to your energy and focus.
While caffeine stimulates areas of the brain that aid in cognitive task performance in the short term, the research has found that for habitual coffee drinkers these benefits are no longer present. The boost you feel from your morning cup is rather a temporary reversal of the caffeine withdrawal symptoms of irritability, lack of focus, fatigue, and brain fog. Rather than elevating your performance and energy to new heights, caffeine for habitual coffee drinkers actually just returns you to a baseline or “normal” level for a short period of time.
Additionally, caffeine releases adrenaline in the body, putting you into a state where emotion overruns behaviour. This is a great benefit in situations where fight or flight must be activated for survival–like in the case of a fire in the home–but is not as productive when your greatest task of the day is sending an email or working on spreadsheets. While the caffeine will give you a boost of energy through this adrenaline, that intensity is difficult to hone into productivity, ultimately resulting in increased anxiety and heart rate, and decreased cognitive task performance.