The Science of Caffeine and its Effects on Mental and Physical Performance

Using Caffeine to Optimize Performance - Huberman

2 min read

In a recent podcast episode, Andrew Huberman, a neuroscientist and professor at Stanford University, discussed how caffeine can optimize mental and physical performance.

Caffeine vs Adenosine

According to Huberman, caffeine is a powerful stimulant that affects the central nervous system by blocking the action of adenosine, a neurotransmitter that promotes sleep and suppresses arousal. By blocking adenosine, caffeine promotes wakefulness, alertness, and mental clarity.


The timing of caffeine consumption is crucial. Huberman recommends consuming caffeine beginning at 10am and no later than early afternoon. This is because caffeine has a half-life of about 6 hours, which means that half of the caffeine consumed will still be in the body after 6 hours. Consuming caffeine too close to bedtime can disrupt sleep and lead to grogginess the next day. On the other hand, consuming caffeine too early in the day may lead to a crash in the afternoon as the effects wear off.

Additional Substances

To optimize the effects of caffeine, Huberman also suggests pairing caffeine with other substances, such as L-theanine, an amino acid found in tea, which can promote relaxation and reduce anxiety. He also recommends consuming caffeine with food to slow down absorption and prolong its effects.


In addition to its benefits for mental performance, caffeine can also enhance physical performance by improving endurance, reducing fatigue, and increasing the rate of fat burning during exercise. However, it is important to consume caffeine in moderation and with caution, as excessive consumption can lead to negative side effects such as anxiety and insomnia.


In summary, caffeine can be a powerful tool for optimizing mental and physical performance, but it must be consumed at the right time and in the right amount. Following Huberman's recommendations to consume caffeine beginning at 10am and no later than the early afternoon, pairing it with other substances, and consuming it with food can help individuals experience its benefits without compromising their health or performance.



References from Huberman Labs





Notice: This article is a simple summary of Huberman Lab's 142-minute podcast episode entitled "Caffeine: Science and Uses". This blog post is not taking credit for his studies, only summarizing them.
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