Thursday, January 8, 2015

Caffeine, Performance, and Creativity

Serena Williams asks a tournament judge if she can order an espresso. 

After losing her first set of tennis in Australia at the Hopman cup on Monday, Serena Williams thought a pick me up might help.  

"I just asked them to get me a shot of espresso. I asked them if it was legal, because I've never done it before. " 
"I needed to wake up - it's just the jetlag. It gets you all the time."
After the coffee, Williams won the next two sets to win the match. She later joked it was miracle coffee.

Can coffee help performance for artists and writers?  
Many coffee drinkers report they can not function without morning coffee. Caffeine is great as an energy booster, can decrease fatigue, and helps problem solving.  However, some scientists question if caffeine can inhibit creativity.  

A June 2013 New Yorker article explores the idea that caffeine may prevent the mind from wandering. This wandering mind is exploratory and where original ideas sometimes come from.  Caffeine helps concentration, but "a break in intense concentration may increase unconscious associative processing.  That in turn, allows us to perceive connections that we would otherwise miss."

Additionally, caffeine can not only effect sleep quality, but can hinder REM dreaming that has been linked to creativity. 

Read more about caffeine and creativity in The New Yorker article How Caffeine Can Cramp Creativity here:

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