The Army wants you... to drink the perfect amount of coffee

Are you imbibing enough caffeine for peak performance? Military researchers may have the answer.

Bonnie Burton
Journalist Bonnie Burton writes about movies, TV shows, comics, science and robots. She is the author of the books Live or Die: Survival Hacks, Wizarding World: Movie Magic Amazing Artifacts, The Star Wars Craft Book, Girls Against Girls, Draw Star Wars, Planets in Peril and more! E-mail Bonnie.
Bonnie Burton
2 min read

One cup may be all you need.

Brian Bennett / CNET

Caffeine isn't always as magical as we hope. 

We drink cup after cup of coffee to try to finish an important project or remain conscious during perhaps the most tedious meeting ever. Yet it doesn't always turn us into the superheroes of stamina we wish it did.  

Leave it to scientists working for the US Army to figure out how to get the most out of our caffeine intake. 

In a study published Monday in the Journal of Sleep Research, Department of Defense researcher Jaques Reifman outlined how a newly created algorithm can determine the best dosage of caffeine to take at the right time. 

Reifman, who researches high-performance biotechnology software for the military, said the algorithm can identify safe, effective caffeine-dosing solutions that result in the kind of alertness that makes us more productive. 

Because caffeine affects everyone differently, Reifman performed psychomotor vigilance task (PVT) tests that fed data to the algorithms to figure out the best caffeine strategy and maximize alertness at specific times.

"We found that by using our algorithm, which determines when and how much caffeine a subject should consume, we can improve alertness by up to 64 percent, while consuming the same total amount of caffeine," Reifman told Science Daily on Monday. "Alternatively, a subject can reduce caffeine consumption by up to 65 percent and still achieve equivalent improvements in alertness."

The Army is using the new algorithm with soldiers in training and plans to license the algorithm.

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