Coffee is the most widely consumed stimulant in the world and much like the rest of us, the army uses it to ensure they’re alert and working at their most efficient.
But timing your coffee consumption is essential for peak performance - drink it too early and the effects will wear off, too late and you’ll be up all night.
Now, however, the US Army's Medical Research and Materiel Command’s Biotechnology High-Performance Computing Software Applications Institute (BHSAI) has developed an algorithm that could provide the solution.
In a soon-to-be-released app called 2B-Alert, members of the public will be able to take tests and input sleep and caffeine intake data, and they will then receive “sleep and caffeine schedules” to help them “optimize performance” in future.
The researchers hope the app will be useful to students preparing for exams, pilots, truckers and anyone planning to undertake an activity where they will need to perform at peak cognitive levels during a particular time period.
“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,” principal investigator and senior author Jaques Reifman, Ph.D. explained.
The algorithm was created by assessing dosing strategies in four previously published studies on sleep loss. By doing this, the researchers were able to identify the strategies which would enhance neurobehavioural performance or reduce caffeine consumption.