[ Question ]

Is daily caffeine consumption beneficial to productivity?

by ChristianKl 1 min read26th Nov 201919 comments

18


Caffeine raises human alertness by binding to adenosine receptors in the human brain. It prevents those receptors from binding adenosine and suppressing activity in the central nervous system.

Regular caffeine productions seems to result in the body building more adenosine receptors, but it's unclear to me whether or not the body produces enough adenosine receptors to fully cancel out the effect. Did anybody look deeper into the issue and knows the answer?

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2 Answers

One major confounder is that caffeine is also a painkiller, many people have mild chronic pain, and I think there's a very plausible mechanism by which painkillers improve productivity, i.e. just allowing someone to focus better.

Anecdotally, I've noticed that "resetting" caffeine tolerance is very quick compared to most drugs, taking something like 2-3 days without caffeine for several people I know, including myself.

The studies I could find on caffeine are highly contradictory, e.g. from Wikipedia, "Caffeine has been shown to have positive, negative, and no effects on long-term memory."

I'm under the impression that there's no general evidence for stimulants increasing productivity, although there are several specific cases, such as e.g. treating ADHD.

Yes. When it comes to tolerance of stimulant drugs, there is such thing as a free lunch.

While you will get some tolerance, and ceasing use will give you some withdrawal effects, tolerance will eventually plateau unless you are taking far more than you should be. After tolerance is accounted for, using caffeine will still give you a higher baseline of productivity than taking nothing at all.