Regimen enhances caffeines ability to target key sleep system
Caffeine is the worlds most widely-used stimulant yet, scientists still do not know exactly how it staves off sleep. Researchers at Brigham and Womens Hospital, Harvard Medical School and other institutions have now discovered that caffeine works by thwarting one of two interacting physiological systems that govern the human sleep-wake cycle. The researchers, who report their findings in the May issue of the journal Sleep, propose a novel regimen, consisting of frequent low doses of caffeine, to help shift workers, medical residents, truck drivers, and others who need to stay awake get a bigger boost from their tea or coffee.
" Most people take a huge jolt of coffee in the morning to jumpstart their day-they get the super grande latte from Starbucks," said Charles Czeisler, who was recently appointed the Frank Baldino Jr. PhD professor of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School. "Their caffeine levels soar only to fall as the day progresses in the face of rising sleepiness. They might be better off taking much smaller more frequent doses of caffeine, equivalent to a quarter of a cup of coffee, as the day wears on."
Judith Montminy | EurekAlert!
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