Coffee doesn’t work the same way for everyone. The effects of caffeine and the quantity required to get the boost vary from people to people based on factors such as gender, genes, weight and even any medications you have been taking. For some, all they need is a ‘pick me up coffee’ in the morning and they are good to go all day, but others require constant refilling or will turn into a zombie.
It should be remembered that over intake of caffeine can lead to a series of unpleasant side effects from stomach ache to insomnia. Hence it is important to find one’s optimal dosage and make sure not to cross the one’s caffeine threshold.
In November 2016, a group of researchers from University of Arizona performed a series of experiments for college students to find how to consume coffee for maximum effectiveness. Their focus was not just on caffeine’s impact on making students more awake, but to find if coffee actually improves their performance.
The experiment was divided into two parts, the students were given coffee and asked to ‘complete implicit and explicit memory tasks in the early morning and late afternoon’. During the morning, students who had caffeine demonstrated a striking improvement in explicit memory, but not implicit memory. And caffeine did not alter memory performance in the afternoon. In the second experiment, students were asked to engage in a cardiovascular exercise in order to examine whether increases in physiological arousal similarly improved memory.
‘Despite clear increases in physiological arousal, exercise did not improve memory performance compared to a stretching control condition’, says the paper published by Stephanie M. Sherman, Timothy P. Buckley, Elsa Baena and Lee Ryan. The results of experiments suggest that “caffeine has a specific benefit for memory during students’ non-optimal time of day – early morning”. The researchers say these findings have real-world implications for students taking morning exams.