What does caffeine do for us?


#1

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#2

I decaffeinated myself more than a decade ago, and haven't the slightest regret, except that now even Pepsi can give me the jitters.


#3

The implications are a bit chilling, tbh. The post reminded me very much of this review.


#4

Sorry, but as Italian I won't trade my Espresso for your electroshocks.


#5

I have just started dabbling with tDCS this last month after reading dozens of articles that all basically say the same thing: running low electrical current is apparently awesome.

When it comes to stimulants, however, coffee has a much more convenient delivery system, and it has a few thousand years of cultural acceptance behind it. I'll stick with my aeropress at the office for now.


#6

For more introduction to the topic of DIY tDCS, the eponymous subreddit is usually the first stop for most people. If podcasts are your thing, Radiolab has an episode called "9 Volt Nirvana".


#7

I'm just old enough to have avoided a trendy (accurate) ADD diagnosis and just old enough that ADD drugs weren't a big thing when I went to college -- so my feeling whenever I read about these performance enhancing technologies is "what am I missing"?

I do use coffee. I've found it improves my unicycling ability and other athletic skills. But I notice the cognitive impact of caffeine withdrawal much more than the benefit -- so it is nice to know there really is a benefit, and I didn't get my self physically dependent for nothing.


#8

I'm amazed at the people who are so receptive to caffeine, laying staring at the ceiling because of a cup in the afternoon.

People do like to exaggerate though. I think I had the jitters once when I drank one of the bouncer's special coffees at the pub I worked at. Other than that I seem to be able to drink it all day.


#9

I gave it up about 5 years ago and it's been great. One of the best things I ever did. Haven't had a migraine since, I can focus better and have no problems staying up without losing clarity. The funny thing is, this article is all about the military potential of the drug but, back when I was actually in the army, doing all that army stuff like long hours and no sleep, I wasn't a caffeine drinker at all. It was only after I got used to caffeine in my system that I started to experience all the problems that we are told caffeine fixes.

Seriously though, and I know I sound like a crusader on this, if you suffer from migraines or feeling tired all the time, try quitting caffeine.


#10

I quit the stuff for a few years at one point - then we had a kid. In order to stay employed with fragmented and chaotic sleep patterns, I took it up again.

Some of my coworkers are constantly rationing coffee, only having it once a week etc. I've found when I do that I feel fine as long as I get enough sleep - and also if I have my first coffee in a week just before going to the gym it is like rocket fuel.

I can't wait to open up the first electroshock cafe, maybe somewhere in San Jose.

Also, the 20 year old that still lives in my brain wonders what it would be like to get zapped and drink coffee at the same time...


#11

To be clear, all the statistics you cite say simply that "the majority of the US citizenry" drink coffee. Not that they experience unpleasant side-effects.

For those who don't experience unpleasant side-effects, the cognitive-enhancements, learning-improvements, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and dementia risk-lowering, depression-lowering, and cancer-fighting effects (most citations here) make it extremely attractive -- at least until we have tDCS cafe's everywhere.

I've been extremely curious, but a little too risk-adverse to start dabbling in DIY-tDCS. Having a 14-month-old daughter at home makes the prospect of accidentally frying my brain less attractive. But, as I said, I'm extremely curious and cautiously excited, and when the field matures a little more I'll be right there.


#12

I am a devoted user of caffeine, but there are times when one must deprive oneself of coffee. The result is often migraines and/or morning fogginess. I have found one thing that erases the pains of caffeine withdrawal for me.

And I am disappointed to inform you that the miracle cure is fresh vegetable juice -- easy on the fructose. A big glass of fresh vegetable juice with lots of greens and a little lemon and apple to cut the grassy bitterness will do the trick (none of that salty V8 swill, nor that 100% naturally sugary Jamba stuff). It will wake you up and put a spring in your step while reducing the incidence of caffeine withdrawal migraines.

The only danger to this cure is sanctimony. Look out for the sanctimony.


#13

I have a (mild but inconvenient) sleep disorder: when I get even a little sleepy I start to doze off without warning: between sentences in a conversation, while driving (which I stopped doing of course), even (rarely) while standing or walking. I take medicine that reduces the effects, but find coffee a useful supplementary measure. If I drink a cup of coffee at 8pm or 9pm it will buy me about 2 hrs of wakefulness - meaning I could fall asleep during that period, but (usually) won't do so spontaneously. I drink the caffeine equivalent (including soda and tea) of 2 cups of coffee per day. When I stop for whatever reason I don't tend to have withdrawal symptoms.

So yeah, other people's descriptions of sleeplessness due to coffee consumed half a day earlier are baffling to me. Also, I would love to have an option for promoting wakefulness that could be turned on and off at will without introducing more medicines.


#14

Schemes to eliminate sleep always put me in mind of Prentis Rollins' The Resonator.
(The half that doesn't detail writing graphic novels).


#15

I don't drink caffeine regularly, and I'm glad I never became addicted, but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy coffee every now and again (about once or twice a week), or the occasional soda. If I just have a single cup, I'm fine, but anymore than that, I get jittery. And then I pee every 20 minutes for like 8 hours.


#16

Why not both? a electric jolt at home, and coffee throughout the day?


#17

Chilling if you think about ad and tech masterminds scheming in such a way, but I have talked to many people who would gladly give up sleep if it meant they could keep doing what they love to do.


#18

@LvData The researcher suggested that the appropriate jolt duration could mean you wouldn't need caffeine boosts during the day. Personally, I love the smell and taste of a good cup of coffee.

@imperialbennett That's interesting. I know many people who use caffeine to reduce the intensity of their migraines. Goes to show that everyone's neurochemistry is unique.


#19

Yeah, there's a reason Excedrin exists. Caffeine definitely can help my headaches. I usually stick to lower doses than what's in Excedrin though because apparently I'm so sensitive to it that taking two pills and drinking some Coke turned me into Jessie Spano in a very special episode of Saved By The Bell.


#20

From the post:

These stem from the dose-dependent effects of caffeine, which also
influence norepinephrine release when you head over the 400mg level of
consumption.

A degree in toxicology, and I learn this here.... Thank you. That makes so much sense of things.