How Much Coffee Should You Have After a Night's Sleep?

How Much Coffee Should You Have After a Night’s Sleep?

how much coffee should you drink

Are you a nonfat chai latte kind of a person? Or are you a plain and simple black cup of coffee fiend? Some people cannot live without their shot of espresso in the morning while others need an energy drink midday pick-me-up. Whatever your caffeine intake is, you’ll be interested to find that the military was curious about the correlation between sleep and caffeine. Through extensive research, the U.S. Army Medical Research found the exact amount of coffee a person needs based on the amount of sleep they received the night before.

The military recognizes that soldiers don’t get the recommended amount of eight to nine hours of sleep each night. In fact, the CDC reports that as much as 40 percent of those serving in the military get less than five hours of sleep. They can receive even less when in combat. Curious to understand more about sleep, Dr. Jacques Reifman conducted a study with five other doctors interested in the same thing. In their paper, A Unified Model of Performance for Predicting the Effects of Sleep and Caffeine they looked at seven different sleep-loss schedules. This ranged from getting five hours of sleep to getting no sleep at all. They then gave study participants six different caffeine doses including a placebo. The effects the caffeine had on participants validated their original mathematical equation that predicted the average person’s ability to properly perform tasks by balancing drinking the right amount of caffeine to their amount of sleep. 

How much coffee should a person get?

The Wall Street Journal reports that according to the mathematical model that the army developed, these are the ideal doses of caffeine a solider should get based on the amount of sleep:

  • Getting by on five hours of sleep a night? You might need to consume the equivalent of two cups of weak coffee when you wake up–followed by another two cups, four hours later.
  • Getting reasonable amounts of sleep, but you’re working an overnight shift? You’d be best off drinking a quick two cups of weak coffee right at the start of your shift.
  • And, if you’re expecting you won’t be able to sleep much at all for more than a day or two, you’re supposed to drink the equivalent of two cups of coffee at “midnight, 4 a.m., and 8 a.m.”

2B-Alert Mobile App

Although not available to civilians yet, the 2B-Alert mobile app tracks the phenotype of an individual to calculate how much caffeine consumption impacts them based off of the amount of sleep the individual got. The U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command’s Biotechnology High-Performance Computing Software Applications Institute (BHSAI) worked together to create the app.

With these algorithms in mind, you’ll be able to maximize your performance in any job. Of course, if you aren’t a coffee drinker, getting enough sleep is crucial to maintain proper cognitive function and memory. Give your caffeine-free brain the extra exercise it needs with our Maximizing Memory course. Find out more today about all the techniques to help you remember key information and retain the content you read.

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