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Not enough sleep? Creatine keeps you alert

Creatine does about the same for your brains as it does for your muscles, according to a study from the British University College Chichester, which appeared in Psychopharmacology. Just as creatine enables your muscles at the end of your sets to make a few extra reps, it also helps tired brains to think more clearly.

Psychologists measure how capable you are of carrying out complex mental processes with the random movement generation test (RNG test). This involves putting test subjects in front of a board with eight knobs, which they have to press at random. Seems simple, but it isn't. The more tired you are, the easier it is to fall into a pattern and keep pressing the same buttons.

The Brits kept their test subjects awake for twenty-four hours and then got them to do RMG tests. Before the experiment started, half of the test subjects had taken 5 g creatine four times a day for a week. The other half were given a placebo. During the experiment the researchers let the subjects do some sports and eat.

The graph below shows how often the test subjects pressed the knobs in a pattern. The difference between the creatine group and the placebo group became significant in the last test.

Not enough sleep? Creatine keeps you alert

The figure below came out of the same study and shows how tired the test subjects felt.

Not enough sleep? Creatine keeps you alert

So creatine supplementation reduces tiredness. From the research it emerged that the test subjects in the creatine group felt more energetic than the subjects in the placebo group.

Creatine is a pep pill for the brains, the researchers conclude. If you are unable to sleep for a day, but have to be able to think clearly, the energy supplement will help you to keep going.

Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2006 Mar;185(1):93-103.