Caffeine Can Only Help So Much If You Don’t Get Enough Sleep

If you don’t get enough sleep, caffeine may keep you aware enough to do chores, but you won’t do them properly.

A group of participants was asked to complete a simple memory test as well as a more complex “place-keeping” test, which required the completion of a series of tasks in a specific order without skipping or repeating any steps, in a study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition. Caffeine was found to be beneficial in some cases, according to the study.

In a news release, Kimberly Fenn, PhD, an associate professor in the department of psychology at Michigan State University, said, “We discovered that sleep deprivation reduced performance on both types of tests and that coffee helped participants successfully execute the simpler task.” “However, for most individuals, it had minimal influence on performance on the place-keeping task.”

According to Fenn, there is a straightforward lesson from the study.

“Caffeine can help you remain alert and pay attention to a task, but it won’t help you avoid mistakes,” she explained. “Procedural mistakes are of particular concern to us since they may be highly harmful. Many medical professionals, such as surgeons, must, for example, work lengthy hours at all hours of the night.”

She also gives some suggestions for what tasks to avoid if you’re running low on sleep.

“I think the easiest way to think about it is that you wouldn’t want to try any work with repercussions if you were sleep deprived,” Fenn added. “As a result, I would advise avoid doing anything risky, such as driving or operating heavy machinery, or performing any work where a mistake may be costly. A decent rule of thumb is to avoid doing anything while sleep deprived that you wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) do while inebriated, regardless of caffeine.”

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