Millions of Americans rely on caffeine to make it through their daily grind—but when and how much of the miracle substance we consume can deeply impact its effectiveness on our alertness.

That’s where the research of Dr. Jaques Reifman comes in. Last year, he brought the world a new caffeine algorithm in an effort to help us figure out the optimum times for our coffee breaks.

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His work with the U.S. army was published in the Journal of Sleep Research in 2018, and if you missed it, it’s pretty fascinating. By dosing subjects with caffeine at four different states of sleep loss, they were able to determine different levels of effectiveness when faced with psychomotor vigilance task (PVT) tests.

New Ways to Brew12 Coffee Products You Never Knew You NeededAccording to an interview with Reifman in Science Daily, “We found that by using our algorithm, which determines when and how much caffeine a subject should consume, we can improve alertness by up to 64 percent, while consuming the same total amount of caffeine.” Not only could did they find increased cognitive performance, but they also found that they could reduce total caffeine consumption by 17 to 65 percent based on previous studies. In other words, specifically tailored caffeine intakes have the potential to be more effective than haphazard consumption.

While the algorithm still isn’t available to the public yet, it is presumably still being tested on soldiers during training and the U.S. Army intends to license the technology. In the meantime, civilians can utilize the 2B-Alert Mobile app, which provides a less personalized variation of the algorithm. Over time, the app learns the user’s response to sleep and caffeine. It then predicts when you may need an extra jolt of the stuff.

Future studies are likely to take place to further perfect the algorithm. The potential to optimize caffeine consumption could have a lot of implications far beyond its military origins. We may never have to down an entire pot of espresso in one sitting to pull an all-nighter ever again!

In the meanwhile, we’ll be experimenting with coffee naps.

Related Video: What Is the Difference Between French Press and AeroPress Coffee?

Header image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Jessica is a former Associate Editor at Chowhound. Follow her on Twitter @volume_knob for updates on snacks and cats.
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