Daily tips and tricks from the experts at Adafruit!
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Looking for ways to justify that fourth cup of coffee for the day? There are MANY studies on caffeine consumption including ones that look at fat burning enhancement, ideal dosage and timing. Let’s take a closer look at a 2018 study which we have pointed out before, but never took the time to explain how it works. The military department of defense and biotechnology have developed an algorithm that reduces our need for caffeine by 65% while increasing our alertness by 64%. How do we apply it to ourselves for optimal coding and focused hardware development?


The above screenshot was generated using the 2B-Alert Web page. This site was developed by the same military researcher who wrote up the study on “Caffeine dosing and strategies to optimize alertness during sleep loss“. Once you signup to create a free login it will ask you to set your unbelievable strong password. If you can get yourself through the password process it is on to typing in sleep data and caffeine dosages. The site provides automatic conversion from different caffeine sources so you don’t have to figure out how decipher milligrams on your own.

There are three graphs that can be generated once the sleep and caffeine data is entered. All of these are based on the Unified Model of Performance (UMP) which predicts effects of sleep loss and caffeine, as a function of time of day.

Mean Response Time – More alert means lower values. You can see above that each cup of coffee I consume creates a slight decrease in response time (faster, more alert). I found that less than four cups of strong 8oz aeropress coffee left gaps in my day where I got slower.

Mean Speed – This chart again shows clear peaks at coffee consumption times of 7am, 10am, 1pm and 3pm. My speed is projected to increase through the day. I tried generating graphs with only 1 cup and 2 cups of coffee a day, but it showed my performance was pretty much over by 4pm if I didn’t keep on chugging the black juice.

LapsesĀ – The less lapses you have the better. Again the 4 cup model seemed to keep my lapses to a minimum for a 8 – 6pm work window.

While the 2B-Alert webpage is a bit clunky to use it does allow one to plugin exact sleep periods and specific caffeine doses for up to a week at a time. If you knew you were going to be in a sleep deprived situation and wanted to calculate the ideal caffeine consumption this would be the tool to use. My interest was more in daily performance to keep up a consistent work pace so my sleep schedule and coffee consumption look the same for each day.