Many of us rely on a cup of coffee to kickstart our day, as well as help make us more alert and focused at work. But does coffee really have the ability to improve cognitive function and increase productivity, or is this just a myth?
In this blog, we’ll explore the scientific evidence surrounding the effects of coffee on the brain, and discuss whether it can improve our productivity. After all, the success of your business depends on your people, so it makes sense to help them work at their optimal best.
We’re a nation of coffee lovers and here in the UK, we enjoy approximately 95 million cups per day. Coffee and tea top the list as the most popular hot drinks, and many of us drink around 2 – 3 cups every day. But what is it that we love so much about coffee and does it actually help us be more productive in the office?
First of all, the reason we tend to get a buzz after a cup of coffee is because it contains caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant that can affect the central nervous system. When we drink coffee, the caffeine is quickly absorbed into our bloodstream and travels to the brain. In the brain, it binds to certain receptors known as adenosine receptors.
The science bit
Adenosine is a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate our sleep-wake cycle. When caffeine binds to these receptors, it blocks the effects of adenosine, which helps to make us feel more awake.
However, caffeine doesn’t just block the effects of adenosine. It also stimulates the production of other neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and norepinephrine. Dopamine is a feel-good hormone that’s associated with pleasure and reward. It can help to boost our mood and make us feel more motivated at work.
Norepinephrine, on the other hand, is a neurotransmitter that’s involved in the body’s fight-or-flight response. This can increase our heart rate and blood pressure, making us more alert and able to focus on tasks.
Increased focus and productivity
So, can coffee help us to be more productive at work? The simple answer is yes – but only to a certain extent.
While caffeine can improve cognitive function in several ways, its effects are not unlimited. For example, research has shown that caffeine can improve memory and recall. This can help us remember important information and to retrieve it more quickly when we need it. Perfect if you’re working on projects or searching through emails. Caffeine can also enhance our concentration and focus. It increases blood flow to the brain so it helps to maintain focus on tasks for longer.
Caffeine is not for everyone
It’s important to note that the effects of caffeine on cognitive function are not the same for everyone. Some individuals may be more sensitive to caffeine than others. Some people will experience side effects such as anxiety, or heart palpitations if they consume too much. It can also upset the stomach and interrupt getting a good night’s sleep. The effects of caffeine can vary depending on the individual’s tolerance, as well as their overall health and lifestyle habits.
Enjoy in moderation
Remember as well that the effects of caffeine can wear off over time. And our bodies can develop a tolerance to the substance. Ultimately, this means that the more coffee we drink, the less effective it may become at increasing productivity.
To avoid this, we recommend that you consume coffee responsibly and avoid consuming too much in a single day. It’s recommended not to exceed 3 to 5 cups daily, or up to 400 milligrams of caffeine. If you’re worried about caffeine affecting your sleep, we also recommend you don’t consume it late in the afternoon.
Get in touch
Overall, coffee can certainly help to improve cognitive function and increase productivity in the office. In order to maximise the many benefits of coffee, it’s important to consume it responsibly and to maintain other healthy lifestyle habits.
If you’d like any advice on your office coffee solution, simply get in touch with our team. We’re here to help keep the coffee flowing and support your team in being happy, hydrated and productive.