It’s common knowledge that your morning cup of coffee, with that dose of caffeine, helps you wake up. Therefore, it is not a big stretch to think that coffee also helps us think through decisions, because we are more awake to do so. However, that cup of coffee does so much more than that. In fact, it just might help you behave in more ethical ways.
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Sometimes (OK, all the time?) people drink coffee to alleviate the symptoms of sleep deprivation. Tired people don’t think as clearly or make decisions as efficiently as awake people. WebMD goes so far as to say that if you have stayed up all night, your brain is functioning as if you were drunk.
And caffeine wakes us up.
A new study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology indicates that sleep deprivation makes us more susceptible to social influences, be they good or bad. We are less likely to question the ethics behind the decisions of others, and instead just follow along. Lack of sleep causes people to make unethical decisions.
Coffee counteracts these problems. That does of warm, wonderful caffeine helps clear your brain and gives you the energy to think through problems and resist negative social influences. Your are more likely, after your cup of coffee, to stand up for what you believe is right. For example, your boss wants to do something you deem unethical. Coffee in hand, you explain to him why this is a bad, unethical idea. You even come up with a different solution to whatever problem he was trying to solve.
The National Sleep Foundation warns us that coffee is not a substitute for sleep. Best practice is to try to get enough sleep, but feel free to enjoy that extra-large, warm and wonderful coffee when you feel the need during your workday.
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