Caffeine: can it help or hinder our studying abilities?

Caffeine is abundantly found in common foods such as coffee, black tea, chocolate, soft drinks, and energy drinks.

Caffeine is a natural stimulant. The stimulant action of caffeine increases the activity in our brain and nervous system, creating the ability to feel refreshed and ready to concentrate. This is why a lot of people tend to become physically and mentally dependent on caffeine to function normally.

As we continue to eat or drink caffeine, our tolerance to caffeine decreases, meaning we require even more caffeine to achieve the same effect. How we react to caffeine is dependent on everyone’s unique body mass, health, and metabolism.

The benefits of coffee are very attractive to university students, specifically when we spend a lot of our night time cramming last-minute information for tests and finishing off our assignments.

What is so attractive about caffeine for students?

Enhances short-term memory

Caffeine promotes alertness and enhances our ability to concentrate, allowing us to absorb new information more effectively.

Improves mood

    Coffee increases the levels of dopamine in our brains, causing us to feel less blue and more refreshed.

    Are there some side effects?

    On the other hand, the time we reach for a cup of coffee can affect our sleep and further decline our ability to concentrate and feel refreshed for study in the morning. Having caffeine in the late afternoon and evening allows the alertness and concentration-promoting effects of caffeine to interfere with the ability to have restorative sleep. So, if we are having too much caffeine or caffeine at the wrong times, what could happen?

    You could experience increased symptoms of:

    1. Anxiety
    2. Sleeplessness
    3. Dizziness
    4. Rapid heartbeat


    • Have a coffee or your routine doses of caffeine before 1 pm. Try to avoid any caffeinated drinks after this time.
    • Stick with herbal teas such as peppermint, lemon and ginger, lavender and passionflower that may promote a decrease in anxiety for stressful study sessions in the afternoon and evenings.

    Look out for:

    It is also common for supermarkets to promote energy drinks that contain high levels of caffeine. The common misconception about energy drinks is that they promote health by providing energy. However, these types of drinks do not hydrate the body, and contain large amounts of sugar that trigger a quick high, then a fast drop in energy levels that can cause fogginess and fatigue.

    ** If you are struggling with energy levels, head over to fellow student Chaden’s recipes to find student-friendly meals to cook that are high in fiber, with slow-release carbs, are packed with nutrients and energy to keep you fuelled for longer s so you can keep studying into the wee hours!

    Reference: Better Health