If you love coffee, you probably can’t think of a bad time for a cup of Joe, but a new study shows that there is, in fact, a best time to drink it if alertness is what you’re going for.
Researchers from the U.S. Army developed an algorithm that can make personal recommendations for the timing your morning cup with the goal of drinking the least amount of coffee while achieving optimal alertness, reports LiveScience.
By using the algorithm, researchers found that they could improve people’s performance on attention-based tasks by up to 64 percent even though participants were drinking the same amount of caffeine as usual.
The study found that people could reduce their coffee consumption by up to 65 percent without losing any of the effects of the caffeine.
The algorithm takes into account factors like a person’s sleep schedule, sleep deprivation, schedule, and alertness at different times during the day. A recommendation could reveal it best to drink coffee in the morning, or it might report a cup in the morning and a cup at some time in the afternoon is best for someone — each person will vary.
“We developed algorithms that work together, and they essentially allow us to determine, at the individual level, we and how much the individual should take caffeine to achieve peak performance at the desired time, for the desired duration,” said Jaques Reifman, director of the DoD Biotechnology High Performance Computer Software Applications Institute at the U.S. Medical Research and Materiel Command in Fort Detrick, Maryland and the study’s lead author, according to LiveScience.
The new research will be published in the Journal of Sleep Research, will be used to enhance the productivity and alertness of military workers, but real world applications will soon follow. For example, Reifman said that students studying for an example could use it to determine the best possible time to drink coffee to be alert for their big exam.