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News flash: This new app tells you exactly how much caffeine you need


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Photo: Pexels/Pixabay

For many, the blessed benefits of coffee are undeniable. (Hello, “morning person” on demand.) But coffee drinking is a tricky business. Drink too little and the effects don’t really work, too early and it wears off before you need it, drink too much and it can leave you feeling jittery, and too late can keep you up at night. Well, the US Army is here to help. (How’s that for a mission that unites everyone on the political spectrum?)

In case you’re wondering why the Army is focusing on coffee consumption instead of, well, other things, it’s because staying awake during battle is obviously crucial. Coffee is the most popular stimulant in the world, so scientists set out to figure out exactly when and how much to drink for peak alertness. And this is one military secret they’re happy to share. In fact, the researchers have created an app, 2B-Alert, so civilians can use it in their own lives, based on individual factors such as age, weight, height, and sleep habits. (It’s not out yet, but seems like it will be soon.)

“Our algorithm is the first quantitative tool that provides automated, customized guidance for safe and effective caffeine dosing to maximize alertness at the most needed times during any sleep-loss condition.” —Jacques Reifman, PhD

“Our algorithm is the first quantitative tool that provides automated, customized guidance for safe and effective caffeine dosing to maximize alertness at the most needed times during any sleep-loss condition,” says Jaques Reifman, PhD, the study’s senior author. “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.”

One aspect the app doesn’t seem to take into account is the quality of the coffee beans the user is consuming, which does make a difference: Contaminated beans can leave you yawning even 30 minutes after drinking it. Otherwise, the app can help you biohack your coffee habit. Now if only they can figure out a way to eliminate the crash.

If you want out of the endless coffee-wine-repeat cycle, here’s how to break it. And yes, there is such thing as too much caffeine

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