Caffeine and a busy day go together like cocktails and a first date. It sets the mood, it gets us moving, and it's kind of just something we do at this point. But, like all good, chemically altering things, there are strings (and warnings) attached. Today's Debbie Downer? When it comes to creativity, caffeine's mind-boosting benefits are null and void. In fact, it might do more harm than good.
How can such an invigorating substance impede the very process known to occur in fits, bursts, and unwanted wakefulness? To answer that, let's first talk about what creativity actually is. Whether you're penning a screenplay, designing a dress, or searching for a new answer to an old problem, creativity is about connecting ideas, materials, or concepts in a novel way. And that magic happens when we take a step back and let our unconscious do its wandering thing — the very thing that caffeine is so effective at thwarting.
And then there's sleep; the other creativity-loving function caffeine messes up. Even on four hours, we can tell you sleep deprivation is just another thing to keep us up at night. At least, we know how much it takes to turn sleeping hours into waking ones: anything more than 200 milligrams. That translates to about one eight-ounce coffee.
Since we have no plans of cutting out caffeine, keeping it to one cup day seems like a solid plan. Okay, two, tops, only if there's a spreadsheet in our immediate future. That's a fair, um, trade, right? (The New Yorker)
Photographed by Christy Kurtz