A new study shows that caffeine does not help sleep deprivation.

We’ve all been there. You wake up after a night of poor sleep. Feeling groggy and exhausted, you reach for that magical elixir called coffee. You get your energy boost. You start to feel less tired. But do you perform better after drinking coffee? Not according to a new study.

Via The Daily Mail:

That is according to a team from Michigan State University who gave sleep-deprived volunteers caffeine and then set them a series of challenging ‘place-keeping’ tasks. ‘There is no replacement for good sleep,’ according to the study authors, who say caffeine keeps you awake, but doesn’t improve you performance.  

During the study, 275 sleep-deprived participants, some given caffeine and some not, were asked to complete different tasks. 

One was a simple attention task, but they were also tested on a more challenging ‘place-keeping’ task – one requiring the completion of steps in a specific order without skipping or repetition. 

The researchers found that, while caffeine seemed to help the participants stay awake and keep focus on the attention task, it had little or no impact on their performance in the place-keeping exercise. 

So, caffeine did not seem to help with the more difficult task. The study’s lead researcher Dr Kimberly Fenn found that coffee does not help sleep deprivation. It will keep increase your energy, decrease your sleepiness and improve your mood. However, it will not improve your performance on complex tasks.

She added: ‘If we had found that caffeine significantly reduced procedural errors under conditions of sleep deprivation, this would have broad implications for individuals who must perform high stakes procedures with insufficient sleep. This includes people like surgeons, pilots and police officers, but, said Fenn, ‘instead, our findings underscore the importance of prioritising sleep.’ 

Ultimately, what this study shows is that there is no substitute for a good night’s sleep. We do get some benefit from caffeine but caffeine does not help sleep deprivation. So do what you can to sleep well and drink your coffee because more and more studies show the benefits of drinking coffee but it is not a cure all for bad sleep.