Being overworked and under-rested is a common predicament in modern society. The pressures of work and a passion for working out means that we often find ourselves burning the candle at both ends. When we are too busy to hit the hay, many people reach for sugary or stimulant-heavy energy drinks to power them through, but encouraging new research suggests that creatine may be a healthier answer.

The recently published study, suggests that “Single dose creatine improves cognitive performance and induces changes in cerebral high energy phosphates during sleep deprivation.” In short, the findings suggest that dosing with creatine during periods of sleep deprivation could boost your mental prowess.

How Was the Creatine Study Carried Out?

Fifteen otherwise healthy male and female subjects aged 20 to 28 years of age took either creatine or a placebo after being asked to get inadequate sleep. Evaluations were carried out at the RWTH-Aachen University Medical Center in Germany, and required the participants to enter a lab where they were not allowed to sleep, and were spoken to whenever they felt like dozing off.

There was no pre-loading stage for taking up the creatine, but the dosage was relatively high at 0.35g per kilogram of bodyweight. That’s around 27 grams for a 170 pound woman and around 32 grams for a 200 pound man. Still, the study showed that this dosage was well tolerated by the participants. At several intervals, the individuals were then tested on their cognitive function and memory to see if the creatine had any effect.

What Were the Results For Sleep Deprived Subjects After Taking Creatine?

The report states that “Creatine significantly reduced fatigue,” when scored at 2am and 4am the following morning. This positive result included improved speed in mental processing time both with logical and numeric tasks. So, if you have an exam to revise for, or a project to complete, creatine could be your new best friend. The “Cognitive metabolic effects of creatine could be observed starting from the first time point, 3.5 hours after creatine administration … The observed effects lasted or were augmented until the last measurement run ending 9 hours after administration.”

Can I Take Creatine to Ward Off the Effects of Sleep Deprivation?

This new study goes a long way to show that a single high dosage of creatine can safely stave off the effects of mental fatigue allowing you to slowdown the effects tiredness for longer, but of course, there is no substitute for the physical and neurological regenerative effects of some serious shut-eye. Still, since creatine has no calories, and doesn’t give you that jittery feeling that stimulants might cause, then creatine might be a great choice for those times where sleep is at a premium and you really do need that extra boost.