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Coffee is a very effective ‘pick-me-up’. Caffeine triggers the body’s ‘fight or flight’ response, raising your blood pressure and heart rate to give you a burst of energy, says Steve Bazire, professor of pharmacy practice at the University of East Anglia. 

Caffeine also stimulates the release of feel-good hormone dopamine, temporarily reducing fatigue.

And it works quickly - caffeine is absorbed quicker in liquid form, says dietitian Nigel Denby. ‘It reaches its highest concentration in the bloodstream and in the brain within 30 to 40 minutes.’

It takes around three to six hours for caffeine levels to drop back to half of what they were at their peak. 

That’s why you should avoid coffee in the four to six hours before bedtime, says Peter Rogers, professor of biological psychopharmacology at the University of Bristol.

Caffeine suppresses melatonin, the hormone that helps us relax and prepare for sleep, and interferes with a brain chemical, adenosine, which normally slows down nerve cells in the brain, making us drowsy.

But don’t rely on caffeine as an energy booster long term. Studies have shown that people who regularly drink coffee to remain alert become tolerant to caffeine, so they are no more alert after drinking it than non-coffee drinkers.

If you think you drink too much coffee, don’t go ‘cold turkey’ as it can cause nasty withdrawal symptoms, says Professor Bazire.

His advice? ‘Cut down on your intake gradually, alternating decaf coffee with your usual cup until you’re drinking no more than three cups in any 24-hour period. Then coffee can be a pleasure.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/

Posted Mar 25, 2016 at 9:05pm

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