The impact of coffee consumption on sports performance is linked to the caffeine in coffee, rather than to coffee itself. A number of studies have been conducted and there is substantial evidence to prove that caffeine can be an ergogenic aid (an ergogenic substance is something that enhances the capacity of an individual to do work or exercise). This effect is most pronounced in endurance (aerobic) sports. Caffeine helps athletes minimize the amount of time it takes to cycle, run or row a set distance. Individuals who consume caffeine via coffee also notice significantly less muscle pains.

The overall impact of caffeine on short- term, high-intensity sports (anaerobic activities) is inconclusive. The mechanism of action has been described as a pathway that leads to enhancement in the production of adrenalin, which in turn stimulates the production of energy and elevates the flow of blood to muscles and heart.

Research suggests that the caffeine in coffee modulates fatigue and impacts the levels of exertion, energy and perceived pain – all these factors are said to increase performance in sports.

Some more points to be kept in mind are:

Caffeine is extremely impactful in elevating sports performance in trained athletes when consumed in low to moderate dosages (approximately 3-6mg/kg).

However, it does not lead to further enhancement in performance in case it is consumed in higher dosages (greater than or equal to 9 mg/kg).

Caffeine may provide a better ergogenic impact if it is consumed in an anhydrous state as compared to coffee.

Research proves that caffeine can

increase vigilance during sessions of extended exhaustive exercises, as well as during periods of sustained sleep deprivation.

The caffeine in coffee is highly impactful for time-trial performance.

Caffeine supplementation has been proven to be beneficial for high- intensity and team sports such as rugby and soccer.


The intake of caffeine via coffee impacts sleep in humans. A strong association has been established between the daily intake of caffeine, daytime sleepiness and other sleep problems such as shorter total sleep time, shorter periods of deep sleep, difficulty falling asleep or longer periods of light sleep. .

This impact is not only dependent on the amount of caffeine consumed at bedtime, but also on the quantity of caffeine ingested throughout the day. Research proves that caffeine consumed up to six hours prior to sleep can have an adverse impact on sleep.

Different individuals have varying levels of sensitivities to caffeine. Occasional drinkers would have a different impact than regular drinkers. Age is also said to impact the quality of sleep. The middle aged individuals are more sensitive to the effect of caffeine than the younger individuals.


It is recommended that women should limit their daily intake of caffeine during pregnancy. This varies between countries and typically ranges between200-300mg. Approximately 80-100mgof caffeine is found in a regular cup of caffeinated coffee. Low to moderate caffeine consumption does not impact the development of fetus. A number of studies have been conducted in this regards, however, the impact of coffee on fertility, time to pregnancy and quality of semen is still unclear and needs further research.

Women normally restrict their caffeine intake during the first trimester of pregnancy as they notice symptoms such as vomiting, nausea and aversions to taste and smell. This reduction is in reality a response to higher levels of pregnancy hormone. Higher coffee intake, therefore, cannot be related to any reproductive complication.


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