In keeping with this heretical thinking, researchers have been tinkering with new ways to maximize caffeine’s benefits while minimizing the drug’s unwanted side effects and health risks. Recent studies, some of them funded by the military in order to calibrate peak performance of combatants, have demonstrated that instead of dosing ourselves with caffeine bombs two or three—or in Michael Dare’s case, six—times daily, we’d probably get better results from caffeine by taking in multiple small amounts throughout the day. One experiment conducted by Harvard researchers found that subjects given the caffeine equivalent of two ounces of coffee every hour maintained their alertness, scored well on cognitive tests, and suffered little detriment to their nighttime sleep—even though they continued to ingest it up until 90 minutes before bedtime. Troops in Iraq are given Stay Alert gum, which comes in 100-milligram doses. The upside of slow-drip consumption is that your body isn’t subjected to caffeine’s roller-coaster ride. You get the highs without the lows, or the withdrawal.
Can a coffee patch be far behind?