The stimulant caffeine is a well-known remedy for tiredness and concentration problems. You can find out here what effect caffeine has on our body, how it has a lasting effect on sleep and why caffeine consumption reduces symptoms of tiredness.
Table of Contents
- The pick-me-up caffeine
- What is caffeine?
- How does caffeine work?
- Effect & dosage
- Effect on the psyche
- Effect on the body
- An overview of the positive properties of caffeine
- Side effects of caffeine
- Caffeine & sleep
- Conclusion / tips on caffeine consumption
The pick-me-up caffeine
The cup of coffee is a popular first aid against morning sluggishness or the fatigue of the classic midday slump. But not only in the form of coffee, but also in cola, tea, energy drinks and chocolate, many people rely on caffeine as a “pick-me-up” and its invigorating effect in the fight against exhaustion and acute weaknesses in performance. But what exactly is caffeine and how does the well-known effect occur in our body?
What is caffeine?
Caffeine/Caffeine is a naturally occurring chemical compound called an alkaloid found in the leaves, seeds and fruits of many plant species. Here, caffeine functions as a natural defense against pests, for example in coffee and cocoa beans, tea leaves or parts of the guarana or cola tree. Because of its stimulating effect on the human organism and the nervous system, caffeine is also referred to as a psychoactive substance. Especially popular in the form of coffee, cola, tea or energy drinks, caffeine is the most commonly consumed remedy for acute fatigue and concentration difficulties worldwide. In addition to numerous positive and invigorating effects, the active ingredient can also have a negative effect on the body and psyche, especially in the wrong dosage, and also directly influence our sleep.
How does caffeine work?
Duration of action and dosage
Caffeine is absorbed by our body in the form of food or stimulants through digestion and thus enters the bloodstream, where it begins to take effect after about 15 to 30 minutes. The different effects of caffeine are particularly evident in our brain and central nervous system, usually last for several hours and then slowly fade away. How quickly our body breaks down the caffeine consumed depends on various factors, such as our age, weight and general health. The average half-life is between three and five hours after consumption. A recognizable effect can already be seen from a single dose of approx. 100 - 200 mg and also depends on the form in which the caffeine is consumed.
Effect on the psyche
Caffeine is widely known for its stimulating effect on the central nervous system. The substance is similar to the body's own messenger substance adenosine and is able to occupy and block the adenosine receptors in the brain. Adenosine is a component of the energy carrier ATP and is released when we use excessive energy. It is then responsible for signaling tiredness and thus protecting the nerve cells from overexertion. However, caffeine is able to block this signal of tiredness, so that symptoms of tiredness can be reduced and our nerves continue to work at full speed. At the same time, caffeine also promotes the production of the happiness hormone dopamine and the stress hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline. Dopamine facilitates the transmission of nerve signals, while adrenaline orNorepinephrine increase blood circulation and blood pressure and thus improve concentration and performance in the brain
In this way, caffeine reduces feelings of fatigue and in turn supports mental alertness and alertness, while promoting nerve function and a positive state of mind. Various studies also show that moderate caffeine consumption can also have a positive effect on long-term memory and improve the storage capacity of our brain.
Effect on the body
Caffeine not only works in our brain, but also has numerous effects on the entire organism. For example, it stimulates digestion and increases intestinal movement, accelerates cardiac activity, metabolism and our breathing. And our blood pressure and body temperature also increase after consuming the popular substance. As a result, caffeine also affects our general body function and physical well-being and can not only improve our athletic performance, but also help to relieve headaches and migraines.
An overview of the positive properties of caffeine
Reduces fatigue and promotes alertness
Increases concentration and attention
Has a positive effect on the storage capacity of the brain & long-term memory
Stimulates the cardiovascular system & digestion
Increases physical performance, e.g. B. by accelerating heart rate, metabolism and respiration
Side effects of caffeine
As is so often the case, the saying "The dose makes the poison" also applies to caffeine! In a single dose of up to 200 mg (about two cups of coffee) and a daily amount of less than 400 mg (corresponds to about four cups of coffee), caffeine is generally considered harmless for adults. However, an overdose in particular can have some negative consequences and damage your health in the short and long term. The side effects of excessive caffeine consumption include headaches, inner restlessness and irritability, indigestion or circulatory problems. Caffeine consumption that is too high and especially too late also disturbs our sleep by prolonging the time it takes to fall asleep in the evening and reducing the duration and quality of sleep.
Caution: The body can get used to a regular intake of caffeine, which is why the noticeable effects weaken over time or serious withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, nausea, mood swings or increased tiredness can occur. Therefore, it is best to ensure moderate caffeine consumption and not to exceed the recommended daily dose.
Caffeine & Sleep
Due to its stimulating and invigorating effect, caffeine can increase the time it takes to fall asleep, reduce the quality of sleep and generally shorten the duration of sleep. It blocks the body's own tiredness signals and leads to increased nerve activity, which prevents us from being able to relax sufficiently, wind down and sleep peacefully, especially in the evening. In addition, the psychoactive substance is able to influence the production of the sleep hormone melatonin and shift our sleep-wake cycle. Scientific studies have also been able to observe that increased caffeine consumption before sleep reduces the deep sleep phases, which are crucial for our recovery, and makes sleeping through more difficult.Caffeine can not only make our sleep less restful, but also promote a lack of sleep and, as a result, lead to more tiredness during the day. Learn in this article how our diet and individual nutrients can also affect sleep. Tip: Make sure the daily dose is not too high and, at best, avoid caffeine-containing foods four to six hours before going to bed so that the stimulating effect can wear off and the caffeine can be sufficiently broken down before you go to sleep at night. .
Conclusion / tips on caffeine consumption
Enjoy in moderation! For an adult, up to 200 mg at a time and up to 400 mg of caffeine per day are considered safe. Rule of thumb: A maximum of 5.7 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight per day
Avoid caffeine in the afternoon or in the last four to six hours before going to bed, because although caffeine is an effective stimulant for acute tiredness, it is not a substitute for healthy sleep patterns
The caffeine from coffee, tea or energy drinks affects our body at different speeds. For example, a high sugar content in soft drinks leads to faster absorption of the substance in the brain, while the effect of the caffeine (tein) in tea develops more slowly but also lasts longer
Greetings and see you soon!
Tip: Make sure the daily dose is not too high and, at best, avoid caffeine-containing foods four to six hours before going to bed so that the stimulating effect can wear off and the caffeine can be sufficiently broken down before you go to sleep at night.