Caffeine and Writing

I poured a cup of coffee before sitting down to write this,  and after a few sips things are looking clearer — internally, anyway. That noise in the next room is not so distracting anymore, and ideas come to the surface faster. Power of autosuggestion or memory boost from caffeine?

Scientists at the Newcastle University in the U.K. point to the latter in a new study on caffeine and memory boost for bees. And NPR brings us the story.

Who knew that the flower nectar of citrus plants — including some varieties of grapefruit, lemon and oranges — contains caffeine? As does the nectar of coffee plant flowers.

And when honeybees feed on caffeine-containing nectar, it turns out, the caffeine buzz seems to improve their memories — or their motivations for going back for more.

The scientists apparently trained the bees to associate the reward of food with the smell of the flower.

Do bees respond differently to nectar containing caffeine compared to sugary nectar? They do, three times better.  The caffeine feeding bees were able to remember the flowers’ odor 24 hours later. The scientists say, “That’s exactly what the study shows.” The caffeinated bee has a better memory.

Good news for this coffee drinker.

Why is this important? We already know caffeine has an effect on us, especially when exhausted.

But now we also know caffeine does more than provide a quick pick me up. It improves short-term memory, helping me get through that never-ending project.

Everything changes if we’re not exhausted, of course, and the scientists make that clear. Too much or unnecessary caffeine can lead to some unpleasant effects: lack of sleep, feel anxious, etc. No good.

But as I’m setting out to write a blog and go through a couple of chapters this afternoon after a day at the office, a cup of coffee should do the trick. Mmm, and the aroma …

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8 responses to “Caffeine and Writing

  1. Either that or the bees were just addicted to the caffeinated flowers. ;-p Sorry, couldn’t help myself! Interesting study. As someone with ADHD, caffeine doesn’t act as a stimulant for me. Man, I wish it did!

  2. I always feel I am missing out on one of life’s pleasures, but I just can’t get myself to enjoy coffee

  3. It always amazes me how scientists can study insects like bees and come to conclusions about their habits. Seems like painstaking work. I do know that my morning cup of joe and writing go hand in hand…like pb & honey.

  4. Coffee = lots of written words. No coffee = catatonia.

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