A disoriented Spider

I came across a very interesting piece about the effects a drink we dearly love, “coffee” has on our brains (refer to the footnotes). Imagine your favourite Spider-man, Andrew Garfield or Tobey Maguire going berserk while on a flight (fight) to save humans from those evil forces; and the culprit for his non-performance: a cup of coffee he drank before the fight (flight) began!!!

In a research, the scientists talked about a method of determining the harmfulness of chemicals by recording and analyzing various spider-web patterns. The research was administered on House Spiders exposed to various chemicals (LSD, Marijuana, Speed & caffeine) and it was found that the Spider web patterns differed in various ways from the normal web patterns. The more fierce the chemical, the more deformed a web looks in comparison with a normal web. Surprisingly, when the Spiders were exposed to caffeine, it showed how strikingly incapable the spiders were in constructing anything resembling a normal or logical web pattern that would be of any functional use even when compared to other strong drugs tested. Here’s a look at the web patterns:

Ever wondered what effect this addictive food– coffee/caffeine can have on our brains. We are no less than the disoriented spider if we are consuming a high degree of coffee in our daily lives.

As per Matthew Walker, Author of the book, ‘Why we Sleep’, the sleep pressure builds up in our brains by a chemical called Adenosine. This chemical continues to increase in concentration with every waking minute that elapses. The longer one is awake, the more adenosine gets accumulated and hence the more desire to sleep. However, another chemical that fights this sleep pressure artificially and helps us to remain awake is caffeine. Once consumed, coffee occupies the Adenosine welcome receptors in our brain and blocks the natural chemical thereby tricking us into feeling alert and awake despite high levels of adenosine.

The average half-life for caffeine i.e. the time it takes for our body to flush out 50% of it is five to seven hours. Now wonder, what effect that cup of coffee would have on you if you consume it daily in the evenings. Most of us do not realize how long it takes for our bodies to recover from a single dose of caffeine and hence fail to make the link between the bad night of sleep we wake from in the morning and the cup of coffee we had ten hours earlier.

We’ve all known all our lives how we feel the urge to have a shot of coffee during late-night study hours or at those cousins/friends’ wedding occasions/parties etc. But shall we make it a norm and generate a fight against the natural chemicals induced in our brains on a daily basis and all our lives? Think about it, before we become the disoriented spiders!!!

This post is written based on the amazing book – Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker.


Categories: Random Thoughts

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2 replies »

  1. So, what is the best time to have a cup of coffee:
    Morning, Afternoon or Night?

    It should purely depend on the occasion and intentions! 😉


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