Time to wake up • Caffeine and Studying

Most students swear by it, some people can’t go without it, and it’s most expensive when it comes to cat poop. Are you ready? Grab a cup of coffee and sit tight, as this blog is all about caffeine and how you can use it during your studies!

What exactly is caffeine?

Caffeine is a natural stimulant that can be found in about 60 different plant species, of which the most popular are cacao beans, tea leaves, and (of course) coffee beans. Nowadays, around 80% of the world population consumes at least one caffeinated product a day, of which coffee being the most popular one. To put that in perspective: it is estimated that there are 2.25 billion cups of coffee being consumed every single day!

Officially, caffeine is the world’s most widely consumed psychoactive drug. However, it is classified as “generally recognized as safe” because you would have to drink 50-100 cups of coffee per day to reach the toxic dose.

How does it work?

Once consumed, caffeine will get absorbed into the bloodstream and goes to the liver, where it is broken down into compounds that can affect the body. Although it can raise blood pressure, it has the most effect on the human brain. It works by blocking adenosine, a neurotransmitter that builds up during the day making you feel tired, from reaching the receptor, while also stimulating the central nervous system, increasing your reaction time, wakefulness, concentration, and coordination.

Benefits of caffeine while studying

So not only will caffeine keep you awake during those late hours the night before your deadline, studies have actually shown a positive effect on your memory. However, there is a catch. If you want to reap the benefits of this fruit, then you must be aware that caffeine is state-dependent. This means that it needs to be in your system both at the moment of learning, as well as at the moment you need the information.

If caffeine is used at the time of studying, you will probably perform better if you also use it during the exam. However: if it is used at the time of studying but not during the exam, chances are that you will perform slightly worse than if you would’ve studied without caffeine.

How about health issues?

What caffeine’s long-term and dangerous has on one’s health has been an age-old question, but a recent South-Australian study seems to have found the answer. After analyzing 347,077 people, the researchers have found that drinking up to 5 cups of coffee a day even has some health benefits compared to non-coffee drinkers. One of these benefits is the reduced risk for strokes.

Another British study of 498,123 people found that habitual coffee-drinkers were between 10 and 15 percent less likely to die during any 10-year period compared to non-coffee drinkers! 

Although this seems amazing, there is a limit to the beneficial amounts of caffeine. Professor Elina Hyppönen, one of the authors of the South-Australian study, says that “in order to maintain a healthy heart and a healthy blood pressure, people must limit their coffees to fewer than six cups a day — based on our data six was the tipping point where caffeine started to negatively affect cardiovascular risk”. Take this advice seriously, as once you reach six cups of coffee per day, the risk of heart disease increases by 22 percent according to the study.

I would love to keep on writing, but it’s time for my coffee break. Please keep in mind that caffeine is still a drug and can affect everybody differently. Use it with caution! If you need more help than just caffeine for studying, check out this blog for tips to boost your productivity and concentration!