Coffee and alertness
It is well-recognized that coffee drinking contributes to increased wakefulness and alertness. Most of the work on coffee consumption and mental performance focuses on caffeine.
Caffeine is well known to have a mild stimulant effect. Research has been conducted for many years to investigate the positive role of caffeinated coffee on improved attention, alertness, reaction time and memory, and there is some evidence to suggest potential benefits of coffee and caffeine in situations which require increased alertness, e.g. night shifts and jet lag.
Caffeine, jet lag and shift work
Jet lag and shift work sleep disorder (SWSD) can result in sleepiness and increase the risk of injury. According to the results of a systematic review, caffeine may be effective at improving performance in people who work shifts, or in those who are suffering from jet lag. However, there are no data for subjects over the age of 40, who represent a population more likely to be affected. This research gap limits the conclusions that can be drawn and calls for more research.
In the same way, for short stopovers (1-2 days), adapting the circadian clock is not the best strategy and judicious naps, combined with caffeine and short-term hypnotics, appear to be the most effective way to maintain alertness and sleep in these situations.
A new infographic, created by Icelandair, compiles the best advice on how to counteract jetlag – including the consumption of caffeine to help alertness.
More information on coffee and alertness can be found here on the Coffee & Health website
This infographic is brought to you by Icelandair