How Skipping Your Afternoon Coffee Adds to Your Productivity

Coffee has long been associated with keeping sleepy busy folks awake and productive, but new studies have shown that your afternoon coffee run is only going to make you sleepier and unproductive the day after. Is coffee turning against its faithful drinkers? 

Most of Us Love Coffee

Almost everybody-- well, around 2 billion people around the world, at least-- are religious coffee drinkers. If this population count suggests anything, is that coffee has pretty much moved past being the world’s famous drink, and in many metropolitans, it has become a breakfast staple. For the average New York dweller, it may even be breakfast itself. As a common Buzzfeed trivia has suggested, New Yorkers drink around 7 cups of coffee every day.

In other countries and cultures, this dark delicious brew is held to a special level of reverence. In fact, national working holidays dedicated only to coffee are celebrated in Japan, Ireland, Costa Rica, and the United States on varying dates. Popular coffee shops like Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, and Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf tend to run special promotions on these dates, as they tend to do on any other major holiday like Christmas and New Year’s.

For the coffee bean farmers of Brazil and other South American nations, coffee is an important product that brings them billions of revenue annually. If these statistics suggest anything, it’s that everybody loves coffee to a certain degree.

But Coffee Might Not Always Love You Back

Although coffee is believed to have health benefits, too much of it can result in drastic performance issues which the world is largely unoriented about. In a study conducted by the U.S. National Library of Medicine in 2009, results showed that excessive coffee consumption may disrupt the circadian rhythm, which in turn can alter sleep behaviour and the rate at which you achieve deep sleep.

After breakfast, coffee is most often consumed, and considered as a boost, around or after lunchtime. This also happens to be around the same time an afternoon coffee boost can turn dangerous.

Your afternoon coffee may not be as innocent as you thought, after all. When your total daily caffeine consumption exceeds 400 milligrams, which is the maximum amount of caffeine you can have in your system every day, the effects could cause you to be less productive at work.

To simplify the science, when your coffee consumption goes beyond the optimal amount of 400 milligrams, you will become more active throughout the day (which doesn't mean more productive), and the effects could reach further into the night. In most instances, it will disrupt your sleep quality starting with your ideal sleeping schedule.

Naturally, when you sleep late (due to overactivity), you will wake up late, as well. The most common remedy people turn to when this happens is to consume more coffee in the morning. This, however, does not solve the fact that you are weak and tired because you lack sleep. Coffee can’t always serve as a band-aid to poor sleeping habits, and even with a large cup of coffee for breakfast, your body will still crash in the afternoon.

Staying Active Without Coffee

Fortunately, coffee is not your only best friend to regain your activeness and productivity at work. For many people who have limited their coffee consumption and lived to tell the tale, the go-to activity to stay active in the office is to exercise. Whether it’s a desk exercise or a simple walk around the office, staying physically active gets your blood flow going the same way as a sip of coffee might.

When work gets monotonous and boring, you can also stay active by switching up your work position or work style. If you’ve been sitting for the past 3 or 4 hours now, stand up, stretch out, and work at a higher level with the help of a sit-and-stand desk. The trick here is to keep blood flowing and to make sure you don’t disrupt the flow by sitting.

Most importantly, reverting to a good sleeping schedule will help your body tremendously. Work hard to try to skip the afternoon brew the next time you feel tempted to on a late-afternoon coffee run.

Can You Survive Without the Brew?

Generally, there is nothing wrong with coffee, and as it sits, coffee is still a great beverage to indulge in, in the morning or on those cold, foggy days. However, if you want to keep your circadian rhythm at normal flow, it would help if you cut down on your coffee consumption.

You don’t have to quit but you can start minimizing your coffee dependence by weighing the cups you drink every day. If your total coffee consumption for the day seems like it will go beyond the optimal amount of 400 milligrams, stop, and leave your mug on the counter. That might be too much coffee for you!

If you are dealing with bouts of sleepiness and tiredness throughout the afternoon, try a good office stretch or some simple walking exercises. You know coffee is good, but it should be taken in moderation. Remember, good health is even better.