No problem with habit: the stimulant caffeine does not lead to poor sleep, as researchers found out in a study with young people.
However, the stimulant reduces the volume of gray matter, i.e. nerve cells, in the brain.
Study among twenty young habitual coffee drinkers
The Swiss-Austrian research team headed by the University of Basel recruited twenty young, healthy and regular coffee drinkers for the study. For ten days, the participants swallowed a caffeine tablet twice a day, the following ten days a placebo.
Based on brain wave measurements in the sleep laboratory, it was shown that the test subjects slept equally deeply in both cases. The researchers report in the specialist magazine “Cerebral Cortex”, as the University of Basel announced on Monday.
Gray matter increases in the brain when caffeine is omitted
But the brain scans showing the gray matter revealed a difference: after ten days of abstinence from caffeine, the volume of gray matter was greater than after ten days with the stimulator. However, this shows that the changes in the brain structure are temporary.
The gray matter regenerates itself if you do without caffeine.
The last author of the study, Carolin Reichert from the University of Basel, concludes that the results do not necessarily mean that caffeine consumption has negative effects on the brain. “But everyday caffeine consumption obviously changes our cognitive hardware, which should at least give rise to further studies.”
You can read the results of the study in detail here.