How Your Caffeine Intake Affects Your Productivity
We all have to come to terms with a few difficult truths. We’re likely not getting the amount of sleep we need. Our workout routine isn’t what it should or used to be. Our work-life balance has the consistency of a piece of paper in the middle of the ocean.
But there’s one fact that we all likely avoid or willingly ignore — a truth that we all know is true yet we can’t help ourselves. There’s a good chance it has to do with what you’re holding in your hands as you’re reading this.
Caffeine has become a staple in our morning routines and daily productivity. Whether it’s a good old cup of joe or some herbal tea, our caffeine intake directly influences how we take on the day.
Though some of us can’t imagine starting the day without coffee, it’s time to imagine — or better yet, learn — what it does to our bodies and our minds.
Warm up with your morning drink of choice as we get to the bottom of what your caffeine intake does to your mind and body.
Millions of people start their day with a nice helping of caffeine for a reason.
In a survey conducted by the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee, 67% of participants said they “always or often drink coffee during a typical working day.”
Of respondents who drink coffee before work, 56% said they do so to help them wake up. These findings aren’t necessarily breaking new ground since coffee is so ingrained in everyday work culture.
But what’s the science behind caffeine? How does it help us jumpstart our days?
It’s the beginning of the work day — or you just got out of bed for some. You turn on your Keurig or coffee brewer and let it do its thing. Now it’s time to take that first gulp of coffee or tea. Thus the caffeine starts its journey through your body.
Your caffeine intake first stimulates your adrenal glands, jumpstarting your body’s adrenaline. For a less-frequent caffeine enthusiast, your body will feel a jolt of sudden energy.
That’s simply because your cortisol levels, otherwise known as the fight-or-flight hormone, are running at full speed. Put those together and you have the productivity levels and workflow of the average American worker.
So the positives regarding your caffeine intake are true, albeit to a certain degree. Everything will always overstay its welcome eventually, and caffeine is no exception.
The main upside to upping your caffeine intake is to feel more alert and able to take on the day ahead. While science does back that up, caffeine is hardly a miracle tonic. Your body eventually builds a tolerance for it, making you take more of it. A small cup of coffee turns into two, eventually turning into three.
Though coffee momentarily produces a spike in energy and productivity, that jolt of efficiency only lasts for about 2.5 hours. What goes up must come down, and caffeine withdrawal perfectly shapes this idea.
Caffeine withdrawals are a true effect of going without caffeine for an extended period. The potency of your caffeine intake causes the lack of it to hit your body harder than a ton of bricks.
Thus begins a cycle of caffeine dependency. Once the caffeine wears off, you become more tired than you were before drinking that first cup. Your first response? Get another cup — around and around the cycle goes.
The side effects of having a large caffeine intake are staggering, enough to derail your everyday life:
Too much caffeine has an impact beyond your productivity. It can throw a wrench in your day-to-day life, affecting your mood and even relationships with others.
For a moment, see caffeine as though it has unlimited power. It has the power to wake you up and put you in an unwavering state of productivity. Your focus, efficiency, and work consistency are untouchable — until that power wears off.
Our next impulse is to brew another batch or make another trip to the break room, but we know better by now.
The solution to caffeine dependency or addiction lies between drinking too much and not drinking at all. It’s all about moderation, using caffeine in a smart and efficient way.
Look at your caffeine intake like your workout routine: plan around it and study what works and what doesn’t for you.
Allow yourself to work without caffeine through certain parts of the day. Drinking caffeine all day every day will make you more jittery and anxious, tanking your productivity and quality of life.
Limit your caffeine intake to one cup in the morning and maybe one after lunch. Upping your caffeine intake too late in the afternoon (like 3 or 4 o’clock) will likely disrupt your sleep later that night.
400mg of caffeine is considered a relatively safe amount for most healthy adults, according to Mayo Clinic. That’s the equivalent of four cups of coffee, 10 soda cans, and two energy-shot drinks — which sounds objectively terrifying when put that way.
The main solution to moderating your caffeine intake is to learn what exactly you’re putting in your body. Though we’ve gone through some very real side effects of a large caffeine intake, it’s largely safe when used right.
Still, in a day and age where you’re expected to have a ruthless work ethic, upping your caffeine intake might seem the easiest solution. Beyond moderation, there are plenty of ways to stay productive and energized throughout the day:
Basically, the best solution to maintain energy without a gigantic caffeine intake is to treat your body right. Give it the right amount of exercise and nutrition, and it will reward you by making you feel physically and mentally like a million bucks.
The secret to all things diet and health almost always point to moderation and consistency. You can always have too much of a good thing, even with vegetables!
The level of your caffeine intake can influence your productivity and the overall rhythm of your everyday life. It’s okay to have a hot cup of coffee in the morning, especially if you genuinely enjoy the taste. Just save that next cup for tomorrow if the sun is down.