Does Caffeine Really Make People Feel Better?
Many of the claimed beneficial effects of caffeine are being called into question by recent research, much conducted by Professor Jack James and colleagues at the University of Ireland, Galway, which suggests that caffeine offers little to the habitual user beyond the relief of caffeine withdrawal. Habitual users do develop a physical dependence on the drug. When deprived, even overnight, they experience symptoms including fatigue and sleepiness, mental fogginess, and a reduced ability to work (see research by Roland Griffiths at Johns Hopkins). James has argued that the apparent effects of caffeine to get you going in the morning result only from the reversal of the withdrawal symptoms that appeared overnight. His group has conducted several research studies that confirm that such reversal of withdrawal accounts for many of the improvements in mood and mental performance noticed by habitual coffee drinkers. These studies call into question whether coffee drinkers actually get benefit from daily consumption, beyond the acute treatment of their physical dependence or "addiction" to caffeine.
Many people who quit caffeine report that the early morning fog disappears within a few days. They awaken feeling more rested and ready to start the day, without caffeine.
Research studies by Professors James and Griffiths can be found online using PubMed. The evidence suggests that the negatives of caffeine dependence may be greater than most coffee drinkers realize.