Concentration a Problem – Does Coffee Help?

Often people struggle to get through their days due to lack of sleep, or they may be struggling because they are completely busy throughout the day and are running out of steam. The most common “pick me up” that people go to is coffee. Not only is it convenient as there is more than one coffee shop on every corner, but it tastes delicious with the abundance of flavors that are now offered. The caffeine in coffee acts as a mild stimulant to the nervous system, which gives you a bit more energy to make it through your sluggish phase. Studies have shown that the caffeine can help improve mental performances, by aiding with alertness, concentration, and focus. The brain’s produces a neurochemical known as dopamine, which helps control the ability to maintain concentration. Caffeine helps stimulate dopamine which allows a person to feel energized, instead of feeling the effects of fatigue.

For people who tend to get easily distracted usually have a low level of dopamine, and stimulants such as caffeine tend to raise their dopamine level.  By doing this, they are in fact able to concentrate better.

Effects of Coffee
Coffee’s ability to act as a mild stimulant helps you enhance your overall mood, alertness, and performance.  These positive effects help you when you need that extra boost to complete a task you set out to achieve or to just get you through a long day.

  • Increases focus – Coffee can help someone stay on task when trying to accomplish something like homework, work documents for your job, or completing tasks around the house. Even if there are distractions around, drinking coffee helps maintain and draw your attention to the task at hand.
  • Enhances short term memory – After much testing, by drinking coffee, the effects it had on someone’s memory was positive. Short term memory is active in learning new material. One study suggested that people who ingested caffeine had significantly greater activation in parts of the brain.  These areas are the ones that help concentration and memory.  Caffeine promotes alertness, which reduces the feeling of being overly tired, and instead, allows you to be able to retain information. By having caffeine when you’re tired, you can enhance the amount of information stored in your short term memory.
  • Increases alertness – To ease the process of learning and processing information, you need to be attentive, wakeful, and alert. By having coffee, it acts as an energizer to enable you to reach these goals. It is especially helpful to have coffee when you are doing long, detailed tedious tasks as it will keep you vigilant.
  • Mood enhancer – When you are feeling down and feel you are struggling to maintain focus and get your tasks done, a coffee break will help boost your mood. You will feel renewed and the ability to concentrate, alleviating the stress you were feeling, which will improve the overall mindset.

Negative Impacts
At times, caffeine in a coffee can have the opposite effect on your ability to concentrate.  The caffeine could over stimulate the central nervous system affecting the muscles and heart which as a result affect your motor activity. People who have an abundance of caffeine in their systems tend to experience an increased heart rate, agitations, and tachycardia. The central nervous system is over reacting and causing shock to your body.

By being over caffeinated, a person can experience muscle spasms and restlessness.  In a study done by the National Institute of Health, caffeine is listed as one of the top three causes of eye twitches.  These are repeated and uncontrollable spasms of the upper eyelid, blurry vision, and sensitivity to light. The result of caffeine can be felt anywhere in the body from tired leg muscles that may spasm to difficulty with speech.

Next Steps
We love a great cup of coffee more than just about any other simple pleasure.  Take a look at our buying guide for home espresso machines under $200 if you decide to upgrade your coffee game!