4 ways you can make the most of your caffeine. No. 4 is a MASSIVE HACK

by Tina Sendin January 14, 2019 5 min read

4 ways you can make the most of your caffeine. No. 4 is a MASSIVE HACK

You love your coffee. You drink it to stay awake and ~ insert various benefits of caffeine here. ~

But are you getting the most bang for your cup?

There are many ways to get the most of your caffeine fix. But contrary to popular belief, benefiting from caffeine is NOT about quantity. In fact, going overboard with your cup of coffee can throw you off into jitter-town.

It’s all about HOW you consume caffeine. The good news is that you can always hack your way into your best caffeinated self.

Curious? Well here are some power tips to becoming a caffeine ninja.

 

How caffeine works

But first… You need to know how caffeine interacts with your body.

To understand what happens after that sip of coffee or popping a caffeine mint, watch this video explaining what caffeine does to your brain:

 

How caffeine works depends on the time, your body’s sensitivity to caffeine, what you mix it with, what you’ve already consumed (or lack thereof), and other things. 

So here are some tips on how to make the most of its effects.

 

How to make the most of your caffeine hit

HACK #1: Here’s how much and how frequent you should consume caffeine.

Once ingesting caffeine, the stimulant passes through your brain and into your system for a good 20-45 minutes. It then stays in your body in the next few hours - while it varies among everyone, caffeine’s half-life (or the amount of time your body clears out half of it) is around 5 hours. [1]

See where I’m going with this? Your brain can only deal with so much. If you drink too much caffeine too soon, much of it goes to waste.

So here’s the pro tip: TAKE SMALL, FREQUENT DOSES. 

 

Drinking coffee, tea, chocolates and other sources of caffeine over longer periods will extend its stimulant effects and slowly release it into your system. Not only do you prolong the buzz and extend your wakefulness [2], you also avoid that usual “crash” from having too much caffeine in one sitting.

Consuming caffeine in 20-200 mg per hour can also result in optimal effects on your cognitive functions. [3] As reference, a cup of coffee can have 100-150 mg of caffeine. This means that having a cup per hour is just the right amount and frequency!

RELATED ARTICLE: Here's how much coffee you should have in a day

 

Where you get your caffeine matters too! Despite caffeine having one too many sources, the optimal source would have to be in “small, hourly doses along with some cardioprotective agent.” [4]

Here’s a BONUS tip: Taking caffeine mints like Viter Energy can instantly help you portion your caffeine intake into smaller doses. Each mint only contains 40 mg so you can easily pop one every hour for optimal results!

 

HACK #2: See if you really need caffeine for the task/s you’re about to perform. 

Caffeine can improve and enhance cognitive functions such as learning, remembering, paying attention and solving problems. [5,6]

Here’s the twist - caffeine does NOT necessarily benefit more complex cognitive functions. Certain studies on the matter show caffeine exhibiting fewer effects on activities that involve more demanding mental performance. [7] Nor did caffeine help sleep-deprived subjects perform better in complex mental tests. [8]

The point is, take advantage of caffeine only when you’re about to perform select mental tasks, like the following:

  • When you need to memorize or remember things [9]
  • Planning, attention, monitoring, and concentrating [10]
  • Pulling through extremely sleepy but highly-important-to-stay-awake moments, such as long-distance and nighttime driving [11, 12] and night shifts [13]

RELATED ARTICLE: 8 ways caffeine affects your concentration and mental performance

 

Here’s a BONUS hack: According to this article from QZ, have a cup every 48 hours for an optimal mental performance: [14]

“The hack is simple: if you are an average adult, a cup of coffee every 48 hours will do the trick. (Disclosure: I’ve been doing this for more than two years.) A typical cup of coffee contains 80mg of caffeine, which as a non-addict should be enough to give you the mental boost. You can have a double espresso shot too, if you like. The half-life law will ensure that most of it is out of your system in 48 hours. But break the 48-hour-gap law at your own risk."

However, if 48 hours is too much of a wait for you, don’t worry. You can still have your java multiple times a day without getting over-caffeinated. Just keep in mind how much caffeine you should have in a day.

 

HACK #3: Mix sugar, grapefruit and fat with caffeine to enhance and prolong its effects.

Certain ingredients can amplify the effects of caffeine according to a number of studies:

  • Sugar. A 2004 study found that cocktails with both caffeine and sugar enhance cognition, compared to those with only one or the other. [15] Sugar helps you absorb caffeine more efficiently and gets you performing better on a test.
  • Grapefruit juice makes caffeine levels stay longer in the bloodstream. [16] Tim Ferriss, in his book 4-Hour Body, also talked about how grapefruit can help retain caffeine longer in your system, all thanks to a compound called narangin found in the fruit. So include grapefruit in your breakfast while you have your first cup of coffee, or mix some extract in your caffeine fix. 
  • Fat helps absorb caffeine more efficiently, even better than sugar. When mixed with healthy fat, caffeine exhibits a stronger effect than just taking it alone. [17]

 

 

HACK #4: What time you drink coffee matters BIG TIME. Also, ever heard of coffee naps?

Most people drink their first cup of coffee right after getting out of bed. But did you know that this isn’t getting the most out of your coffee? If you want to take advantage of your body’s peak wakefulness combined with caffeine, then you should have your first caffeine fix MID-MORNING.

You can read all about it in the article “When’s the best time to have your coffee.

Here’s a BONUS hack in two words: COFFEE NAPS. 

 

If you need to study for an exam or work on your presentation - but are feeling so sleepy - take a power nap. But right before that, drink coffee. Set your alarm 20 minutes after drinking coffee while you drift off.

Here’s why: it usually takes 20 minutes for caffeine molecules to travel through your body to your brain. Because of that, you can allow your body to clear out adenosine in the brain while having a power nap for 20 minutes!

Read more on "Here's the best way to drink coffee and stay awake." 

 

CONCLUSION 

Caffeine with all its benefits can help you become more productive, but only when you know how to use it well. It’s not about how much caffeine you take, but how well you know how it works. Only then can you hack your way to becoming a caffeine ninja!

To get the most bang for your cup (or caffeine mint), consume caffeine over an extended period, know when to use it vis-a-vis the tasks at hand, drink at optimal times during the day, and mix with other ingredients that help amplify and extend its effects.

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Do you have any other PRO TIPS to share? Feel free to leave them in the comments section below!

Tina Sendin
Tina Sendin


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