Caffeine Tolerance: How to Use It More Efficiently

Over the course of my studies, I have become what you might call an, advanced, consumer of caffeinated drinks, and foods (chocolate covered coffee beans are basically the best, just try them).  Caffeine alone however, it not enough to keep you going, because even if you think that in the short term that you’re doing fine operating mostly on coffee and internal fortitude, short term bursts of sleeplessness have a tendency to become long term stretches of running on fumes.  Here are some tips that have worked well for me over the years for balancing awakedness and sleeping well:

  1. Caffeinated drinks can stick around in your system for as much as 5-7 hours after you drink them.  If you must drink them after essentially your dinner time for the night, try sipping them as you go, and resist the urge to down a big cup of coffee or an energy drink.  You’re only going to get so much help from the caffeine in the drink, and adding more on top of what you need is just going to rob you of sleeping time.
  2. If you’re having trouble focusing, are your eyes dry?  The longer the people stay awake, the less that they tend to blink, particularly if you’re spacing out a bit late at night trying to figure out how to finish your work with a fuzzy brain.  Try using some eye drops, and see if the issue resolves itself.  (Particularly if you wear contact lenses!)
  3. Are you drinking water as you go?  Caffeine is a diuretic, and consuming large amounts of it can lead you to be both dehydrated, and not feel thirsty.  Even though dehydration worries are largely overblown for most cases, if you’re drinking a lot of coffee or something stronger, keep drinking water as you go.  Much of the fatigue and fogginess you may be working through may be related to dehydration, not a need for more stimulation.

What else helps you stay up?

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