What is so special about that sweet sweet drink of coffee that most of the world likes to start their mornings with? Many of us drink coffee to jump-start our mornings or give our sluggish workdays a little extra ”oomph”. Coffee is a stimulant, which often feels like the perfect answer for those bleary-eyed and foggy slow mornings. However, there are occasions when jolting your brain with caffeine is the exact opposite of what you might need. The psychological impacts of coffee go far beyond the favourable effects such as getting a great boost in your alertness. Thus, what do we really know about coffee?
The good of the coffee
Coffee contains caffeine, a stimulant of the central nervous system. It promotes concentration, problem-solving, and alertness, which can all contribute to feelings of decreased fatigue and increased energy for the day. Caffeinated drinks, such as coffee, have been found to help you to feel more alert for performing, for instance, on an exam.
There has also been found proof for coffee enhances short-term memory as well as physical, cognitive and motor performance. All these various effects together can be boosting factors for exams or other high-pressured performances. There’s also a long number of coffee’s advantages for visual processing that have been reported. The sensitivity to notice moving targets can be enhanced by caffeine, which may allow for both quicker and more precise reactions. All of this seems so positive so what’s really to hate about coffee?
The bad of the coffee
There is evidence, that as a downside to drinking coffee, one might experience some restlessness, nervousness or insomnia. Thus, coffee use might reduce sleep quality and make it more difficult to fall asleep. This happens especially if consuming caffeinated drinks later time in the evening. Additionally, a lack of sleep has its own broader cognitive impacts on an individual.
For people who are generally more sensitive to coffee’s effects, caffeine can also trigger anxiety, especially if it is consumed in larger amounts. If you tend to become anxious in social situations like meetings and presentations, it might be advisable to avoid coffee before such situations. It is always very personal if the result of consuming coffee before a more challenging event will be sharpness and energy or anxiety and poorer performance. Consuming too much caffeine can have toxic effects on the human body, including pacing, excessive fidgeting and agitation. Sometimes coffee’s effects on the stomach can also be painful. It’s easily addictive and quitting coffee can also has its own side effects like headaches.
Thus, coffee or no coffee?
The take-home message: even when considering the good effects of coffee, it seems wrong to assume that it will treat all the resulting problems of insomnia or concentration issues. Trying to fix the cons of coffee by drinking more coffee, can create a vicious cycle of addiction. However, drinking moderate amounts of coffee is healthy for most adults. It’s important to note that it varies greatly how individuals process and react to caffeine and different amounts of it. Some people are just more sensitive to the different effects of caffeine than others.
It is good to pay attention to your consumption of coffee and how it is impacting you on the daily basis. Maybe the bad sides aren’t impacting you at all or maybe there’s something you could adjust in your drinking habits?