It's no secret that we're trying to find hacks to perform better after a poor night's sleep. No doubt your first thought is to reach for the coffee machine - caffeine should do the job. But just how much coffee do you need to get your day back on track? The U.S. Military may have just figured out the magic number.
New research published in the journal Sleep has formulated a model to help decide the optimal amount of coffee consumption based on sleeping patterns.
After a decade long study, analysing sleep deprivation and how coffee can help improve neural ability, the U.S. Army Medical Research team has figured out the right amount of caffeine needed in order to stay alert.
"This is leveraging 10 years of research on sleep deprivation," he said. "How do humans respond to continuous sleep deprivation of 60 hours? How is that different from when you sleep three hours a night for 10 days? ... What we're dong here now is to develop math equations that describe the phenomenon," says co-author of the study, Dr. Jaques Reifman, speaking to Inc.
Not only are they working out how many cappuccinos are needed for the 'average' sleep deprived person but also how caffeine will affect the alertness of a person in their current state. Scientists aimed to increase alertness to the levels of someone who had got eight hours of sleep.
And researchers already have an answer.
- For five hours sleep a night: the equivalent of two cups of weak coffee when you wake up. Another two ups four hours later.
- For reasonable amount of sleep but working overnight shift: quick two cups of weak coffee at the start of your shift.
- When you're anticipating not much sleep: two cups of coffee at "midnight, 4am and 8am."
Reifman clarifies that experts want to limit the total caffeine in your bloodstream to 400 milligrams at any one time. Typically, a "weak cup of coffee" is defined as about 100 milligrams of caffeine.
Meanwhile, the application to help calculate how much caffeine you need to restore alertness based on real-time isn't available yet but researchers are confident a downloadable version will soon be ready.
We can't wait till there's an app telling us to drink coffee.