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Coffee has a reputation for keeping people awake, but could it also improve your health while you sleep? New research shows that the polyphenols in coffee can boost fat burning during sleep at night.

Previous research supports the hypothesis that chlorogenic acid – the most prevalent polyphenols found in coffee – can help to lower high blood pressure and maintain healthy glucose levels. In coffee, chlorogenic acid can be extracted and is often included in supplements and other weight loss products.

To further study the effects of chlorogenic acid, researchers have performed numerous studies, searching for proof of the benefits of this “miracle ingredient.” In a blind study done by the University of Tsukuba and the Kao Corporation in Japan, consuming chlorogenic acids prior to falling asleep resulted in burning up to 50 percent more stored fat during sleep compared to people who did not consume these acids.

In the study, nine people were included to test the metabolic effects of consuming a beverage containing chlorogenic acid, or CGA. The participants drank the beverage, which contained 600 milligrams of CGA. After five days, their sleep was assessed as they dozed off in a metabolic chamber. The results of the analysis showed that CGA caused stored fat to be burned at a rate of 50 percent more than when the beverage did not contain CGA. Another interesting observation from the study is that it took far less time for people to fall asleep when they had the CGA beverage. The average time that the CGA group took to fall asleep was nine minutes, while the control group took an average of 16 minutes to fall asleep.

“The effect of CGA in stimulating fat oxidation during sleep was manifested without an adverse effect on sleep architecture, which is in contrast with the effects of sympathomimetics such as capsaicin, catechins, and caffeine,” the researchers wrote in the publication, which was released in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Simply put, the participant was burning fat at a quicker rate, but their overall energy expenditure was not greatly affected. This is due to an enhancement of parasympathetic activity, which is also known as the “rest and digest system.”

The study, although providing interesting findings, utilized a very limited sample size, and all of the individuals were reportedly healthy. In order to provide a thorough report on the benefits of CGA, it would be beneficial to work with a larger sample size. It would also be wise to include subjects who were obese if the goal of the study is to test the fat-burning properties of CGA.

The authors wrote, “Ingestion of CGA increased parasympathetic activity during sleep, and the causal relation to its effects on sleep and fat oxidation remains to be evaluated. To generalize the present findings, an experiment with a larger sample size of obese and/or aged subjects should be performed.”

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