A recent study determined that coffee is ineffective among sleep-deprived individuals after a certain period of its consumption. Researchers analyzed individuals’ responses during the double-blinded study and found the surprising ineffectiveness of the caffeine among some of the exposed participants.

The study showed during the first two days of the experiment that those participants who were given caffeine reacted faster to performance tests than the control group that was given the placebo. However, during the third day, the results took an unexpected turn, according to the study made by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) that did not publish it.

On the third day of the experiment, the caffeine became ineffective within the trial and the subjects ingesting it started to show a notable decline in their performance tests, compared to those in the placebo group, according to a press release made by the AASM.

A recent study determined that coffee is ineffective among sleep-deprived individuals after a certain period of its consumption. Photo credit: Innovativeos.com
A recent study determined that coffee is ineffective among sleep-deprived individuals after a certain period of its consumption. Photo credit: Innovativeos.com

According to lead author Tracy Jill Doty, a research scientist at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, the results of the study are important since caffeine is used as a stimulant to “counteract performance decline”, which is then followed by “periods of restricted sleep.”

“The data from this study suggests that the same effective daily dose of caffeine is not sufficient to prevent performance decline over multiple days of restricted sleep,” Doty added in the statement.

The procedure

For the study, 48 participants were gathered and asked to reduce their sleep schedule to only five hours for five nights. The participants took either 200 milligrams of caffeine or a placebo twice a day always tested to find out their performance capabilities, as reported by LiveScience.

The five days took place in a lab, and the subjects ingested either the placebo or the caffeine at 8 am, and again at 12 pm for the duration of the experiment. After the exposure to the external factors, the participants took a series of tests that aimed to analyze their performance skills.

Mood, sleepiness, wakefulness and reaction time were tested in each participant by the team members to determine the state of mind after the caffeine consumption, according to Doty. Cognitive tests were also taken by the members each hour when they were awake.

During the first two days, participants also assured to be happier than those in the control group, but this changed during the experiment. Over the final days of the sleep restriction, those in the caffeine group rated themselves more annoyed than those taking the placebo, researchers added.

However, researchers noted that they did not consider that some of the sleep-deprived individuals may increase their caffeine intake over the time. It is unknown in this study what could occur if more caffeine was taken and if this could overturn the performance decline in the individuals, but increased caffeine dosage also increases some adverse side effects such as jitteriness, Doty added.

Insufficient sleep

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), insufficient sleep is commonly linked with some chronic diseases and conditions, which can include diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and depression. It is recommended to get about 8 hours of sleep, although this could be less or more depending on the age. An older person could require more rest time than a younger one.

Less than 7 hours of sleep have been linked to the chronic diseases already mention, and also have included stroke, poor mental health, and early death. Others factors and incidents that could be associated with insufficient sleep are motor vehicle and machinery-related crashes, which causes substantial injury and disability each year within the United States’ population. People with inadequate rest is more likely to cause or have a car crash, due to the lack of sleep affects directly to the decision-making process.

Within a statistic point of view, more than one-quarter of the U.S have occasionally reported not getting enough sleep, while nearly 10 percent experience chronic insomnia, according to the CDC. However, some Americans are more at risk of experiencing the insufficient rest, such as those who are medical professionals, emergency responders, truck drivers, and workers in the manufacturing, hospitality or retail industries.

Whether if the reason for not having enough sleep is work, health or personal problems, experts recommend that people with unhealthy sleep habits should improve their sleep health by being consistent in their schedule and go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, including the weekends.

The bedroom as well should be an ideal place to rest. The CDC recommends that this should be a quiet, dark and relaxing place at a comfortable temperature to enable a resting environment. Large meals, caffeine and alcohol should be avoided before bedtime due to those can hurt the individual.

Source: AASM