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How does Caffeine Work to Keep You Awake?

Do you find it impossible to wake up and start your day without a morning cup of coffee? If so, new research shows you may be fooling yourself. This effect of caffeine could be an illusion.

Many caffeine consumers, whether they drink coffee or caffeinated colas, believe that they feel more alert after their morning jolt of “Joe.” However, a team of researchers from the University of Bristol in England disagree. And they have a valid study to back up their assertion.

According to experimental psychology professor, Dr. Peter Rogers, "You're not gaining anything over and above a NON-consumer of caffeine." His study shows that the seeming boost of alert energy is only bringing you back from caffeine’s withdrawal-induced, low-level alertness.

In other words, the caffeine you consume is simply restoring the normal level of alertness that’s felt by millions of people who don’t “abuse” caffeine. And “abuse” is the correct word since many health authorities consider caffeine to be the most commonly used “drug” in the world.

Caffeine Alertness and Withdrawal Symptoms

Although caffeine affects the central nervous system, which controls sleepiness and wakefulness, alertness, anxiety responses and blood pressure, the popular belief that caffeinated beverages give you some special added boost of energy and alertness is not true.

The only real reason to drink caffeinated coffee and colas is to help you avoid the headaches associated with caffeine withdrawal and return to what would be your normal level of alertness.

And if you don’t believe that caffeine is addictive, just try giving it up.

You know exactly what would happen, right? You’d feel lousy with a coffee hangover-headache and the only way to get rid of it would be to have another shot of caffeine. That’s addiction!

In Dr. Rogers’ study, 375 participants gave up drinking caffeinated beverages for 16 hours.

Half of the participants were then given 100 milligrams of caffeine or about the equivalent of a couple of cups of coffee and then an hour and a half later another 150 milligrams of caffeine.

The other half of the participants were given a placebo.

Everyone who participated in the study, both the light caffeine drinkers and heavy caffeine drinkers, noted that they experienced greater alertness after being given caffeine. However, there was a considerable difference in the reactions of those given the placebo.

The light caffeine consumers noticed very little difference in alertness when given a placebo.

But the heavy caffeine consumers who were given the placebo reported a sharp drop-off in feelings of alertness. Heavy caffeine drinkers also had many more headaches on the placebo.

How to Have More Energy without Caffeine

Dr. Rogers’ study shows that caffeine doesn’t really provide a jolt of energy or alertness. Coffee drinkers may feel that way, but the truth is caffeine is only bringing them back to a normal state.

So if you want to cut down on caffeine, but you’re tired of feeling tired all the time, start changing old habits for a healthier more active lifestyle. Make regular physical activity an important part of your life, increase your healthy foods high in fiber and include more healthy protein rich foods.

And be sure to subscribe to my free Natural Health Newsletter.

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Note: The information contained on this website is not intended to be prescriptive. Any attempt to diagnose or treat an illness should come under the direction of a physician who is familiar with nutritional therapy.

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