Drinking coffee while studying is extremely common for several students, powering a late-night study session in the library. Wherever you acquire your supply of caffeine from, whether it is from a hot cup of coffee or a can of energy drink, the question remains: Is it true that coffee/caffeine helps you study better? There is a lot of misinformation out there, so let’s look into the research to provide a definitive answer once and for all.
Most people don’t grasp how coffee affects your alertness and sleepiness because they don’t understand how sleep works. Put simply, there are two systems that interact to allow you to sleep. The circadian rhythm, which you may be familiar with, and the brain’s sleep signaler: adenosine. In addition to the circadian rhythm, a substance called adenosine progressively builds up in the brain the longer we stay awake. Because adenosine is only broken down when you sleep, the longer you are awake, the more of it accumulates, and so does the need to go to sleep. How sleepy you feel at any one time is determined by where you are in your circadian cycle, combined with the amount of “sleep signal” chemicals in your brain. Caffeine works by momentarily removing all of the adenosine from the brain’s receptor sites. This confuses the brain into thinking you’ve just awoken from a restful sleep, giving you a pleasant sense of alertness.
Coffee has a lot of short-term advantages for students. It not only helps you focus, but it also improves your mood and allows you to react faster. Caffeine has even been shown to help consolidate memory, suggesting that consuming coffee while studying could help develop stronger long-term memories. This is not to say that you should not practice strong strategies for memorization at all times. Coffee can even help your long-term health because some of the other chemical substances in coffee have a variety of highly favorable side effects. Coffee can lower the likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes, lower the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, battle depression, and may even lessen your chance of liver cancer, according to a study.
However, using coffee for studying now could result in problems later in life. When the caffeine wears off, all the adenosine that you’ve displaced suddenly rushes back into the brain, flooding it with instructions to go to sleep and resulting in an energy crash. So, when you drink coffee for studying, you’ll enjoy an energy boost for a few hours, then likely go back to a worse state than you were in before. You’re essentially taking energy from later in the day, and this loan must be repaid at some point. Furthermore, drinking coffee, particularly later in the day, can affect your actual sleep. Even if you do fall asleep, the quality of your sleep will be negatively affected if you have caffeine in your system, which means you’ll be more prone to wake up tired the next day.
Caffeine can take up to 9 hours to leave your system, meaning that anything you drink in the afternoon will most likely still be in your bloodstream when you go to bed. This means that you’ll become more reliant on that drink of morning coffee to get you through the next day, which will lead to a caffeine crash in the afternoon, and yet more afternoon coffee to keep you going, resulting in another poor-quality night’s sleep later. Additionally, your caffeine tolerance may change with time. Although more research is being done on this theory, some evidence suggests that the more coffee you consume on a regular basis, the more you’ll need to drink to achieve the same effect. If you generally consume little or no caffeine, a single cup may provide a significant burst of energy; a heave coffee drinker may require a whole batch to provide the same impact. Nevertheless, you can reduce your caffeine tolerance. Coffee experts believe you can do it in about a week if you completely stop drinking it, or, alternatively, you can gradually reduce your intake over time instead.
Tips to get the most out of coffee for studying:
The trick is to strike a balance between short-term gains and long-term issues.
Instead of drinking coffee every day, try using it before your most critical tasks, when you’ll profit from the boost.
If you’re a coffee addict, try to limit yourself to no more than 4 cups a day, the equivalent of 400mg of caffeine. After that, researchers believe the benefits fade, and the issues become more severe.
Every now and then, reset your caffeine tolerance to ensure you’ll continue to reap the benefits of its consumption when you do drink it.
Avoid consuming coffee 8 hours before bedtime to ensure a good night’s sleep and a new start in the morning.
To level out the highs and lows in your focus/energy, space out your intake rather than drinking it all at once.
In conclusion, does coffee help you study?
In the short term, coffee will provide you with a boost of energy and focus, which will undoubtedly help you study more intensely; however, in the long run, a combination of energy swings – the energy crash that follows later in the day, and disrupted sleep – may make your life more difficult, especially if you’re overdoing the caffeine intake.