When's the best time for your caffeine fix? There's an app for that

Penn State researchers build iPhone, iPad, iTouch app for caffeine cravers

penn state
Researchers at Penn State have come up with an iPhone, iPad app that lets you know the optimal time of the day you should have that quad-shot of espresso so that it boosts your mental alertness without keeping you from sleeping later.  

Once you download the free Caffeine Zone app from iTunes, caffeinated coffee and soda drinkers type in personal information about how much caffeine they drank, or plan to drink, and when they plan to have a caffeinated drink. They also can add how fast they swill the beverage.  The app can also help people determine when to modify their caffeine habits, so that they might choose to drink a decaffeinated beverage, or mix a blend of caffeinated and decaffeinated coffees, the researchers stated. 

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The software takes information on caffeine use and integrates it with information on the effects of caffeine to produce a graph of how the caffeine will affect the users over time. The researchers used peer-reviewed studies as input data to determine that caffeine drinkers with between 200 and 400 milligrams of caffeine in their bloodstream are in an optimal mental alertness zone. For sleep, the researchers set a lower threshold of 100 milligrams. Drinkers may have sleep problems if they remain above that level, the researchers said. 

Maintaining proper caffeine balance is important for many workers. For example, sailors on submarines must carefully watch their sleep patterns because their sleeping and waking patterns vary each day, the researchers said. 

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