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Monday, December 22, 2014

How To Use Caffeine For Studying

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It's the number one smart drug in the world. You'd be hard pressed to find an office that doesn't serve copious amounts of it to it's employees. It can be used to increase productivity significantly. More relevant to you, it can be used to increase your ability to study.

That all being said, it's a drug. While it may not be as heavily regulated as something like Adderall, its screwing around with your brain chemistry. That shouldn't be taken as lightly as many 9-5 employees treat it. By taking the time to use caffeine properly, you can see more positive results with significantly less risk to yourself.

(Of course, for legal reasons, this isn't medical advice. Get professional advice before doing anything medical.)

There are a few things you need to know before planning to use caffeine to study.

The Obvious

Like I said before, caffeine is a drug. Never treat it like less than that. If you're not willing to properly research how to use it, you shouldn't be using it in the first place. It's not magic. It's just a small improvement when used properly. (It's not even an improvement for everyone.)

How Do You Treat A Drug...


When I say to treat it like a drug, I'm not kidding. If you were planning to administer Adderall to yourself. You wouldn't take in Adderall drinks randomly through the day. With caffeine, that's the typical approach for many students.

You shouldn't be drinking caffeinated beverages if you want to use caffeine for studying. It introduces tons of new potential problems.

First of all, it's risky. Caffeine has a relatively low lethal dose.

Second, more caffeine is not always a good thing. When you increase the dosage too much, it can easily overstimulate you. You might even get anxiety that makes it impossible for you to effectively study.

Third, managing doses allows you to actual know how effective different doses of caffeine are. We're not all the same. Some people need more or less caffeine to be at their peak. (Some need none.) If you don't manage doses then you'll never be able to find the appropriate dose for you.

Fourth, you need to be able to tell the difference between a sugar rush, caffeine rush, and just ingesting calories. The fewer the variables you can use, the better off you're going to be.

Yes. Not drinking caffeine can mean no soda, no energy drinks, and significantly less fun. If you're unwilling to do that then forget about trying to use it any more effectively.

Cycling Caffeine


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Caffeine seriously messes with your brain chemistry. It can become addictive. Over time, the same dosage of it gets less and less effective. If you ever work in an office then you're bound to find some employees that take 5 or 6 huge cups of coffee to get through the morning. This is a depressing consequence of a complete addict.

Cycling is using planning your caffeine usage for periods of time while staying free of caffeine for other times. When you're on caffeine, you get to enjoy all the benefits of it. While you're off caffeine again, your body gets to readjust back to it's normal chemical levels. By planning your cycles right, you don't have to worry about needing to increase your dose in the future. You also get to limit your withdrawal symptoms to however much you're willing to suffer.

The exact plans for your cycling should depend significantly on your goals.

Experimentation


Treat your intake of caffeine like you're doing a science experiment. You want to test the dosages effectiveness. To properly do this, you should probably be using caffeine in a pill form.

The most simple experiment you can do is take a small dosage, study, and then note how good you feel about the study session. Then take a few days off caffeine and repeat it with a new dosage. (Include at least one day recording how you feel without taking the caffeine.) After a few days, look at which days seemed most effective. It's not too scientific but it's much easier than actual full experiments.

To do a full experiment you should do multiple trials and tests using something like flash cards. This can be a major process with plenty of hiccups. It's ideal but most people will probably pass on it.

I've found some of my most effective dosages to be half a pill. Do not overestimate how much caffeine you really need. Too much is much worse than too little. Good luck studying when you feel like hopping up and down for an hour and a half.

Keep in mind that some people will study better without caffeine. (In fact, some people could probably use a little tranquilizer. That's so far out of my scope that I couldn't tell you anything about it.)

When To Use Caffeine


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In the ideal scenario, you should use caffeine at least 10 minutes before your study session. That isn't particularly easy though.

Once you down a caffeine pill, you can start to feel a rush almost instantly. Most of that is just in your head. Sitting and waiting 10 minutes before studying is tough. You'll probably want to do something else for ten minutes. That being said, after 10 minutes, you better hope you're disciplined enough to start studying.

It's ideal to wait a few minutes to study but it's usually more practical just to take caffeine right before you study. You won't be at the peak of focus when you start but you'll probably see a significant improvements by the time you finish studying. (When you study for short periods of time like this blog recommends, you may not even reach your peak studying by the time you finish. That being said, it can still improve your studying noticeably.)

This schedule comes with some problems though. If you're studying in the afternoon or later, any caffeine you take may interrupt your ability to sleep at night. (I've found that I can't consume much caffeine past 2 without noticeable sleep problems.) Given the choice between caffeine while studying or a good night sleep, always pick the good night sleep.

So, use caffeine in the morning before you study. The later in the day it gets, the more natural you should be studying.

(Of course, there may be some perfect super low dosage that can help you later in the day but that's a set of experiments I haven't found.)

The Less Obvious Benefits


There are a significant number of studies that show tons of assorted health benefits of regularly consuming caffeine. It's a drug that's been shown to help prevent a number of problems in the future. Once you learn to properly manage the risks and benefits, it can be a very reasonable risk to take.

That being said, you shouldn't need it. Anyone should be able to study fine without a stimulant. You should be doing everything in your power to prevent dependency on it. Many studies have shown that caffeine can produce dependency issues and those issues will make it significantly more difficult to manage it in the future.

I personally limit my usage of caffeine significantly these days. While the benefits can be very noticeable, it comes at a risk the studies will never be able to prove. Whenever I take something like that, I can't help but wonder if I'm giving my body an excuse to get lazy without the drug. Mentally, I'm accepting that I'm not at my peak without the caffeine. That is just plain depressing for me.

Do I still use it? Sometimes. Do I need it? Hell no.

Do you want to know the secrets of studying in less than 15 minutes a day without your grades lowering? (You don't even need the caffeine.) That's what this blog is all about. Be sure to follow and check of the ebooks for more information.


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