The stimulant caffeine

The stimulant caffeine is a well-known remedy for fatigue and concentration problems. You can find out here what effect caffeine has on our body, how it has a lasting impact on sleep and why symptoms of fatigue are reduced by consuming caffeine.

 Table of contents

      1. The pick-me-up caffeine
      2. What is caffeine?
      3. How does caffeine work?
        1. Effect & dosage
        2. Effect on the psyche
        3. Effect on the body
      4. Overview of the positive properties of caffeine
      5. Side effects of caffeine
      6. Caffeine & Sleep
      7. Conclusion / tips on caffeine consumption

      1. The pick-me-up caffeine

      The cup of coffee is a popular first aid against sluggishness in the morning or the fatigue symptoms of the classic midday slump. But not only in the form of coffee, but also in cola, tea, energy drinks and chocolate, many people rely on the “pick-me-up” caffeine and its invigorating effect in the fight against fatigue and acute poor performance. But what exactly is caffeine and how does the known effect occur in our body?

      2. What is caffeine?

      Grafik: Chemische Verbindung / Alkanoid / Nervengift Koffein

      Caffeine/caffeine is a naturally occurring chemical compound, a so-called alkaloid, that is found in the leaves, seeds and fruits of numerous plant species. Here, caffeine functions as a natural defense against pests, for example in coffee and cocoa beans, tea leaves or components of the guarana or cola tree. Due to its stimulating effect on the human organism and the nervous system, caffeine is also known as a psychoactive substance. Particularly popular in the form of coffee, cola, tea or energy drinks, caffeine is the most commonly consumed remedy worldwide for acute fatigue and difficulty concentrating. In addition to numerous positive and invigorating effects, the active ingredient can also have a negative effect on the body and psyche, especially in the wrong dosage, and can also directly influence our sleep.

      3. How does caffeine work?

      Duration of action and dosage

      Caffeine is absorbed by our body in the form of food or beverages through digestion and enters the bloodstream, where it begins to take effect after around 15 to 30 minutes. The different effects of caffeine are particularly evident in our brain and central nervous system, usually last for several hours and then slowly subside. How quickly our body breaks down the caffeine we consume depends on various factors, for example our age, weight or our general health. The average half-life is between three and five hours after consumption. A noticeable effect can be seen from a single dose of approx. 100 – 200 mg and also depends on the form in which the caffeine is consumed.

      Grafik: Anregende Wirkung von Koffein durch Kaffee und Tee

      Effect on the psyche

      Caffeine is widely known for its stimulating effect on the central nervous system. The substance is similar to the body's own messenger adenosine and is able to occupy and block the adenosine receptors in the brain. Adenosine is a component of the energy carrier ATP and is released when we use excessive energy. It is then responsible for signaling fatigue and thus protecting the nerve cells from overexertion. However, caffeine is able to block this tiredness signal, so that symptoms of tiredness can be reduced and our nerves continue to work at full speed. At the same time, caffeine also promotes the production of the happiness hormone dopamine and the stress hormones adrenaline and norepinephrine. Dopamine facilitates the transmission of nerve signals, while adrenaline or Norepinephrine increases blood circulation and blood pressure and thus improves concentration and performance in the brain.

      Koffein für mehr Konzentration, Gedächtnis, Aufmerksamkeit

      In this way, caffeine reduces feelings of fatigue and in turn supports mental alertness and alertness, while at the same time promoting nerve function and promoting a positive state of mind. Various studies also show that moderate caffeine consumption can also have a positive effect on long-term memory and improve our brain's storage capacity.

      Effect on the body

      Caffeine not only works in our brain, but also has numerous effects on the entire organism. For example, it stimulates digestion and increases intestinal movement, accelerates heart activity, metabolism and our breathing. And our blood pressure and body temperature also rise after consuming the popular substance. As a result, caffeine also affects our general body function and physical well-being and can not only improve our sports performance, but also help relieve headaches and migraines.

      4. Positive properties of caffeine at a glance

      • Reduces symptoms of fatigue and promotes alertness

      • Increases the ability to concentrate and attention

      • Has a positive effect on the brain's storage capacity and long-term memory

      • Stimulates the cardiovascular system and digestion

      • Increases physical performance, e.g. b by accelerating heart rate, metabolism and breathing

      5. Side effects of caffeine

      As is often the case, the saying also applies to caffeine: “The dose makes the poison”! In a single dose of up to 200 mg (approximately two cups of coffee) and a daily amount of less than 400 mg (equivalent to approximately four cups of coffee), caffeine is generally considered harmless for adults. However, an overdose in particular can have some negative consequences and damage your health in the short and long term. The side effects of excessive caffeine consumption include headaches, inner restlessness and irritability, indigestion or circulatory problems. Consuming caffeine too much and especially too late also disrupts our sleep by prolonging the time it takes to fall asleep in the evening and reducing the duration and quality of sleep.

      Koffein gegen Müdigkeit und Leistungsschwäche

      Attention: The body can get used to regular caffeine intake, which is why the noticeable effects may weaken over time or serious withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, nausea, mood swings or increased tiredness may occur. It is therefore best to ensure moderate caffeine consumption and not to exceed the recommended daily dose.

      6. Caffeine and sleep

      Due to its stimulating and invigorating effect, caffeine can prolong the time it takes to fall asleep, reduce sleep quality and shorten the general duration of sleep. It blocks the body's own tiredness signals and leads to increased nerve activity, which prevents us from being able to sufficiently relax, wind down and sleep peacefully, especially in the evening. In addition, the psychoactive substance is able to influence the production of the sleep hormone melatonin and shift our sleep-wake rhythm. Scientific studies have also shown that increased caffeine consumption before sleep reduces the deep sleep phases that are crucial for our recovery and makes it more difficult to sleep through the night. Caffeine can not only make our sleep less restful, but can also promote a lack of sleep and, as a result, lead to more tiredness during the day. In this article you will also find out how our diet and individual nutrients can affect sleep.

      Tip: Make sure that the daily dose is not too high and, at best, avoid foods containing caffeine four to six hours before going to bed so that the stimulating effect wears off and the caffeine can be sufficiently broken down before the night's rest period.

      7. Conclusion / tips for caffeine consumption

      • Enjoy in moderation! For an adult, up to 200 mg of caffeine at once and up to 400 mg of caffeine per day are considered safe. Rule of thumb: A maximum of 5.7 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight per day
      • Avoid caffeine starting in the afternoon or in the last four to six hours before going to bed, because although caffeine is an effective wake-up call for acute tiredness, it is not a substitute for healthy sleeping habits
      • The caffeine from coffee, tea or energy drinks works in our body at different speeds. For example, a high sugar content in soft drinks leads to a faster absorption of the substance into the brain, while the effect of the caffeine (tein) in tea develops more slowly but also lasts longer

      Greetings and see you soon!

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