Bad news for extreme coffee lovers out there. New research has found that stressed-out coffee guzzlers
are three times more likely to experience a “break from reality” than non-coffee drinkers. It’s not as bad as seeing pink elephants or hearing tiny voices in your head, but too much coffee can lead to hallucinations and hearing things.
Uh oh.Hearing White Christmas in your head.
Professor Simon Crowe form La Trobe University tested 92 people with different levels of caffeine intake and stress. Consuming five cups of coffee a day was classified as heavy drinking.
The subjects believed they were undergoing a hearing test and listened to Bing Crosby singing White Christmas. They then listened to three minutes of static noise and were told to press the buzzer if they heard any snippets of White Christmas in the static. The song White Christmas was chosen because it is considered soothing and had been used in other tests.
How did caffeine affect test performance? The participants who had low caffeine levels buzzed once on average. But the serious drinkers with high stress levels buzzed three times.
“If you are stressed and have a high level of caffeine, you are more likely to notice things that aren’t there, see things that aren’t there,” Prof. Crowe said.
The study revealed that about 15% of the population claimed they had some type of hallucinatory or delusional experience. These experiences range from hearing voices, telepathic experiences, and seeing ghosts.
According to Professor Crowe, about 80% of the world’s population has a daily caffeine fix. Caffeine is a stimulant, and while most people are aware of the risk of other stimulant drugs like amphetamines, we don’t think twice about taking multiple coffee breaks during the day.But what about the health benefits of coffee?
One study from the University of Vienna in Austria found that coffee could aid in preventing cancer and heart disease
. That’s because it affects a specific gene that boosts the production of antioxidant enzymes. These enzymes protect the cells in your body against oxidation and toxins that can lead to cancer and other dangerous diseases.
As with all things, moderation is key
. There’s a huge difference in enjoying one cup to kick-start your day and sipping on 8 to 10 cups from morning to night. So if you just have
to have your latte or macchiato on your way to work, relax. It’s possible to enjoy your morning coffee with no fear of pink elephants in the room or hearing tiny voices whispering in your ear.
Let’s all breathe a collective sigh of relief . . .