This information is intended for healthcare and professional audiences.
At a glance
- There is convincing evidence that moderate caffeine consumption helps to improve alertness and concentration. A 75mg serving of caffeine – the amount found in approximately one regular cup of coffee – leads to both increased attention and alertness, according to a recent opinion by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
- Caffeine is not linked to the brain circuit of dependence and therefore should not be considered a drug of dependence.
- Although some people may experience certain withdrawal symptoms, such as headache, reduced alertness and drowsiness, if they suddenly remove coffee or caffeine from their diet, these are not generally very severe. They are of short duration and can be avoided by gradually reducing caffeine intake.
- There is some evidence to suggest that caffeine abstinence could improve sleep, both the time it takes to fall asleep and sleep quality. However, there are large differences between individuals and more research in this area is needed.
- There is some evidence to suggest potential benefits of coffee and caffeine in situations which require increased alertness e.g. night shifts and jet lag.
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