Can Coffee Really Help You Stay Focused?
There have been many studies about the effects of coffee on productivity. Caffeine is the main source of effects experienced, as it is a stimulant—this means that it kicks our nervous system up a notch and is thus a good facilitator of focus. Two ways it does this by increasing your levels of alertness and mental performance.
Though its benefits are substantial, use caution to monitor your coffee intake. On the flip side, too much can be counterproductive towards your goals and inhibit cognitive abilities rather than improve on them.
Mental Performance and Alertness
Some tasks are just plain tedious; there’s no way around it. Going through this process can make you feel sluggish and decrease patience throughout the day, and sometimes a cup of coffee is just what you need to reorient yourself.
Studies assert that caffeine can improve concentration and attention. This is especially useful in times when you are:
Experiencing a midday lag
Experiencing lack of sleep
Performing extended repetitive tasks
Working at night
Because your attention span wanes throughout the day, sometimes a cognitive boost is needed to power through it. One or two (depending on your tolerance) cups of coffee can not only renew your focus, but also improve on mental acuity. This means that you can continue to be effective and thorough, even when a day drags on.
Be wary, though, as too much caffeine can cause jitteriness and actually impair your productivity. Moderating your coffee intake, such as limiting yourself to 2 or 3 cups daily, is an easy way to make sure you don’t overdo it and experience a crash later on.
As a stimulant, the caffeine in coffee actually blocks brain receptors related to fatigue. In reasonable amounts it can be a great way to increase cognitive abilities, including:
Self-control and willpower
Attention and concentration
When You’ve Had Too Much
Conversely, drinking excess amounts of coffee can be detrimental. Caffeine as a stimulant is good in small amounts, but too much has the opposite effect.
Sleep patterns, for example, are strongly impacted by caffeine intake. Too much coffee late in the day may make it harder to fall asleep. It can also cause a decline in sleep quality and quantity, which increases your need for caffeine during the day—this can become a vicious cycle.
The consequences of this cycle wreak havoc physiologically. Some of these impairments are:
Elevated blood pressure
Higher risk of “crashing”
This is when the caffeine in your brain wears off
You are often left with less energy than when you began
In moderation, coffee can be great for productivity. It increases cognitive functions and alertness to maximize your daily output. However, too much can cause significant problems. As long as you monitor consumption, caffeine can be a useful tool for success.
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