Coffee is as much a part of many people's workday as a laptop or smartphone. Back when people actually went to the office for work, coffee was even a shared experience. Either your office had a coffeepot where you would bump into colleagues as you refill your mug for the third time, or you'd stop at Starbucks and pick up lattes for you and your work buddies.
I'll admit, I drink a lot of coffee. I tell you that up front because I want to be clear where I stand on the topic. That said, I don't think my bias is the only reason I stand behind the idea that coffee makes you more productive. I've brought science.
Here, in fact, are three reasons coffee is not only good for you, but can improve the quality of both your work and your life:
1. Increases Energy Levels
We all know that caffeine has an effect on our energy level, and coffee is one of the most common sources of that particular stimulant. Caffeine works to block adenosine, a neurotransmitter that causes drowsiness. It binds to the adenosine receptors, which causes nerve cells to stimulate and increase neuron firing (we'll get to that in a minute). As a result, your pituitary gland releases hormones that cause your adrenal glands to produce adrenaline.
By the way, caffeine has a half-life of about six hours, meaning that you shouldn't drink it late in the day if you need to get to sleep. That same neurotransmitter, adenosine, is important for regulating your sleep, so it's usually best to avoid drinking regular coffee after 2 or 3 p.m.
2. Improves Brain Function
Coffee won't actually make you smarter, but it will help you stay sharp. I've already mentioned that it inhibits adenosine, and therefore allows you to be more alert and stay focused.
At the same time, the adrenaline produced opens up your airways, allowing you to breathe more easily. That, in turn, can increase the oxygen in your bloodstream, which also affects the brain in positive ways. The result is that you can think more clearly, solve problems, and make decisions faster.
Coffee has also been shown in studies to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. In fact, drinking three to five cups of coffee per day resulted in a decreased risk of dementia of 65 percent.
3. Makes You Less Depressed
Depression is a real thing, especially as people are faced with the multiple challenges of taking care of their family during a pandemic while trying to work from home. Even before 2020 went sideways, as many as 4.1 percent of Americans suffered from depression. Believe it or not, coffee can help. Studies have shown that people who drink coffee are 20 percent less likely to become depressed, and 53 percent less likely to die by suicide.
One of the reasons is that caffeine causes your body to increase the level of dopamine in your brain, which is the chemical that causes you to feel happy. Yes, coffee, at least the kind with caffeine, can literally make you happier.