BERLIN, GERMANY - MARCH 19: A slice of cheesecake and a cup of espresso macchiato coffee stand on an outdoor table at a cafe on March 19, 2023 in Berlin, Germany. The German capital has a strong coffee culture. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

I start my early morning with 2 cups of espresso everyday.  Even on the weekends while my family is drinking regular coffee I am throwing on a pot of espresso for myself.  After coming across this latest study on coffee drinkers, I am glad I down espresso.  A new study just published in the New England Journal of Medicine sheds some more light on why drinking coffee has been linked to better overall health: the caffeinated among us log more physical activity per day.

Researchers with the University of California tracked a group of people using step counters and an affiliated app, and noted those who drank coffee generally logged an average of 1,000 more steps a day than those who did without.

That equates to about half a mile more than those who didn’t drink the stuff — and in previous studies referenced by this one, getting just 1,000 extra steps in per day correlated to a 6% to 15% reduction in mortality.

The study also noted, on the downside, that coffee drinkers logged less sleep than their non-caffeinated counterparts — probably no surprise to the coffee drinkers. In fact, they generally got 36 fewer minutes of sleep a night.

The researchers also looked into the links between drinking coffee and heart palpitations — a flutter in your heart that is generally harmless to healthy people and a symptom some people try to avoid by not drinking joe.

The study noted that while coffee drinkers did experience palpitations — called atrial contractions, in cardiology terms — so did the non-coffee drinkers among the subjects. The coffee-drinking subjects recorded 58 such contractions daily, but those who didn’t had 53.

So feel free to drink coffee, but if you can, don’t scrimp on sleep, because that, like physical activity, is a big part of staying healthy.

Maryann Morgan

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