If you work overnights, drinking a cup of coffee early in your shift might not be a bad idea, new research suggests.
A review of several studies published in the May issue of the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews found caffeine appears to help cut down mistakes on the job for shift or nighttime workers.
Researchers analyzed the findings of 13 studies examining the effects of caffeine on workers
Most of the studies took place at simulated workplaces inside sleep laboratories. Subjects took caffeine in the form of coffee, energy drinks, pills and caffeinated foods.
Compared to placebos, caffeine was associated with better overall cognitive performance.
Shift workers who took caffeine made fewer errors than those who took naps.
The review was not able to pin down if caffeine could reduce the frequency of work injuries because of a noticeable gap in previous research.
The authors are cautiously supportive of using caffeine to get through shift work.
Past studies have shown caffeine can negatively impact daytime sleep. However AASM task force found your sleep is unlikely to be disrupted if you consume caffeine more than 8 hours before bedtime.
Combining caffeine at the start of an overnight shift with an evening nap may be your best option. A 2006 study found that can improve job performance and reduce sleepiness.
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