Does smelling coffee wake you up?

Ground Coffee

Image by DavidErickson via Flickr

Monday morning and many of us are consuming coffee to wake up, the interesting question is smelling (over 900 volatile compounds) the coffee a part of the waking up procedure we experience?

A study reported in new scientist indicate that rats that were deprived of sleep for 24 hours had 11 genes downregulated, while the group that were also deprived of sleep but then exposed to the smell (aroma) of coffee 9 of the genes were no longer downregulted and the 2 others were upregulated.

Here is a short video on the subject:

Now the full study actually had two additional groups: control animals (non-sleep deprived), and control animals with coffee aroma. They also did not test if actually drinking coffee would have even a larger effect.

However, among the genes that were upregulated with the aroma of coffee included: nerve growth factor receptor (NGFR), the receptor for brain derived nerve growth factor (trkB), and glucocorticoid-induced receptor. Interestingly, neurotrophic tyrosine kinase receptor (trkC) was downregulated with the coffee aroma.

Another interesting observation was that the coffee aroma effect was sometimes only seen after sleep deprivation – and not just with the smell of coffee without sleep deprivation.

Coffee, has numerous health benefits but also some health risks. So I think the jury is still out on if coffee overall is good or bad for your brain and body health – and of course correct dose would be very important. However, a recent study indicate caffeine extended the lifespan of yeast.

Are you smelling the coffee this morning? Are you waking up to an exciting week – I hope so.

(There are numerous very unusual olfaction studies which I will cover soon on this blog.)

5 comments for “Does smelling coffee wake you up?

  1. June 16, 2008 at 6:04 pm

    Was told coffee/caffeine interferes with insulin and digestion. So, not to have coffee before eating.

    As a quad, I feel then need for a boost in the AM, and before the gym. (even though paid exp3erters have said the opposite, re: hydration)

    Also read that milk, cream (any fat) with coffee couldn’t be digested properly either.

    But, I’m not giving it up even if it saves some time of the life span.

  2. Ward
    June 17, 2008 at 8:22 am

    You don’t have to give up your coffee. The caffeine increased the lifespan of yeast – so drink up :)

  3. June 17, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    Was more in the Paper today.. saying 2-5 cups a day will cut chances of cardiovascular disease in women.

    Anything on coffee + quad and exercise.. let me know.

  4. Ward
    June 19, 2008 at 10:24 am


    good find about the cardiovascular disease and coffee. Haven’t come across anything regarding coffee and SCI but will let you know if I come across anything.