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Effects of caffeine, sleep loss, and stress on cognitive performance and mood during U.S. Navy SEAL training. Sea-Air-Land.
Psychopharmacology (Berl) 2002; 164(3):250-61P

Abstract

RATIONALE

When humans are acutely exposed to multiple stressors, cognitive performance is substantially degraded. Few practical strategies are available to sustain performance under such conditions.

OBJECTIVE

This study examined whether moderate doses of caffeine would reduce adverse effects of sleep deprivation and exposure to severe environmental and operational stress on cognitive performance.

METHODS

Volunteers were 68 U.S. Navy Sea-Air-Land (SEAL) trainees, randomly assigned to receive either 100, 200, or 300 mg caffeine or placebo in capsule form after 72 h of sleep deprivation and continuous exposure to other stressors. Cognitive tests administered included scanning visual vigilance, four-choice visual reaction time, a matching-to-sample working memory task and a repeated acquisition test of motor learning and memory. Mood state, marksmanship, and saliva caffeine were also assessed. Testing was conducted 1 and 8 h after treatment.

RESULTS

Sleep deprivation and environmental stress adversely affected performance and mood. Caffeine, in a dose-dependent manner, mitigated many adverse effects of exposure to multiple stressors. Caffeine (200 and 300 mg) significantly improved visual vigilance, choice reaction time, repeated acquisition, self-reported fatigue and sleepiness with the greatest effects on tests of vigilance, reaction time, and alertness. Marksmanship, a task that requires fine motor coordination and steadiness, was not affected by caffeine. The greatest effects of caffeine were present 1 h post-administration, but significant effects persisted for 8 h.

CONCLUSIONS

Even in the most adverse circumstances, moderate doses of caffeine can improve cognitive function, including vigilance, learning, memory, and mood state. When cognitive performance is critical and must be maintained during exposure to severe stress, administration of caffeine may provide a significant advantage. A dose of 200 mg appears to be optimal under such conditions.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Military Nutrition Division, U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Natick, MA 01760-5007, USA. harris.lieberman@na.amedd.army.milNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Clinical Trial
Comparative Study
Journal Article
Randomized Controlled Trial
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

Language

eng

PubMed ID

12424548

Citation

Lieberman, Harris R., et al. "Effects of Caffeine, Sleep Loss, and Stress On Cognitive Performance and Mood During U.S. Navy SEAL Training. Sea-Air-Land." Psychopharmacology, vol. 164, no. 3, 2002, pp. 250-61.
Lieberman HR, Tharion WJ, Shukitt-Hale B, et al. Effects of caffeine, sleep loss, and stress on cognitive performance and mood during U.S. Navy SEAL training. Sea-Air-Land. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2002;164(3):250-61.
Lieberman, H. R., Tharion, W. J., Shukitt-Hale, B., Speckman, K. L., & Tulley, R. (2002). Effects of caffeine, sleep loss, and stress on cognitive performance and mood during U.S. Navy SEAL training. Sea-Air-Land. Psychopharmacology, 164(3), pp. 250-61.
Lieberman HR, et al. Effects of Caffeine, Sleep Loss, and Stress On Cognitive Performance and Mood During U.S. Navy SEAL Training. Sea-Air-Land. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2002;164(3):250-61. PubMed PMID: 12424548.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Effects of caffeine, sleep loss, and stress on cognitive performance and mood during U.S. Navy SEAL training. Sea-Air-Land. AU - Lieberman,Harris R, AU - Tharion,William J, AU - Shukitt-Hale,Barbara, AU - Speckman,Karen L, AU - Tulley,Richard, Y1 - 2002/09/05/ PY - 2001/08/24/received PY - 2002/07/10/accepted PY - 2002/11/9/pubmed PY - 2003/4/10/medline PY - 2002/11/9/entrez SP - 250 EP - 61 JF - Psychopharmacology JO - Psychopharmacology (Berl.) VL - 164 IS - 3 N2 - RATIONALE: When humans are acutely exposed to multiple stressors, cognitive performance is substantially degraded. Few practical strategies are available to sustain performance under such conditions. OBJECTIVE: This study examined whether moderate doses of caffeine would reduce adverse effects of sleep deprivation and exposure to severe environmental and operational stress on cognitive performance. METHODS: Volunteers were 68 U.S. Navy Sea-Air-Land (SEAL) trainees, randomly assigned to receive either 100, 200, or 300 mg caffeine or placebo in capsule form after 72 h of sleep deprivation and continuous exposure to other stressors. Cognitive tests administered included scanning visual vigilance, four-choice visual reaction time, a matching-to-sample working memory task and a repeated acquisition test of motor learning and memory. Mood state, marksmanship, and saliva caffeine were also assessed. Testing was conducted 1 and 8 h after treatment. RESULTS: Sleep deprivation and environmental stress adversely affected performance and mood. Caffeine, in a dose-dependent manner, mitigated many adverse effects of exposure to multiple stressors. Caffeine (200 and 300 mg) significantly improved visual vigilance, choice reaction time, repeated acquisition, self-reported fatigue and sleepiness with the greatest effects on tests of vigilance, reaction time, and alertness. Marksmanship, a task that requires fine motor coordination and steadiness, was not affected by caffeine. The greatest effects of caffeine were present 1 h post-administration, but significant effects persisted for 8 h. CONCLUSIONS: Even in the most adverse circumstances, moderate doses of caffeine can improve cognitive function, including vigilance, learning, memory, and mood state. When cognitive performance is critical and must be maintained during exposure to severe stress, administration of caffeine may provide a significant advantage. A dose of 200 mg appears to be optimal under such conditions. SN - 0033-3158 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/12424548/Effects_of_caffeine_sleep_loss_and_stress_on_cognitive_performance_and_mood_during_U_S__Navy_SEAL_training__Sea_Air_Land_ L2 - https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00213-002-1217-9 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -