Drivers looking for strategies to stay alert behind the wheel for longer periods may want to consider spreading out their consumption of caffeinated beverages. According to a study conducted by the Rush University Medical Center, small doses of caffeine consumed regularly throughout the day help people avoid falling asleep and maintain cognitive skills.
“Most of the population is using caffeine the wrong way by drinking a few mugs of coffee or tea in the morning, or their Starbuck's grande on the way back to work,” says James Wyatt, sleep researcher. This means that caffeine levels in the brain will fall as the day goes on, he explains.
But caffeine is not a substitute for sleep. Some of the “small-dose” caffeine subjects reported feeling sleepier than those who took placebos.