Hey y’all, take a seat and prepare yourself for the cold, hard truth about caffeine.
Beep. Beep. Beep…You groan at the blaring of your alarm as you swing your arm to hit the snooze button. You didn’t get home from the library until 3 a.m., and this 9 a.m. class is seriously kicking your butt.
Ugh. The second alarm.
You know what would make this better? Coffee. Coffee makes everything better, right?
Although coffee, energy drinks, other beverages, and even caffeine pills are the heroes of many college students, becoming too dependent on them can cause more harm than help.
How Does Caffeine Even Work?
According to Mental Floss, the chemical adenosine builds up in your body as the day progresses, causing you to feel sleepy. Caffeine binds to the receptors that receive adenosine, which makes it so adenosine cannot pass through the receptor. Thus, adenosine can’t build up inside of you, and you don’t feel tired.
Because adenosine levels slow down, other chemicals can accumulate. Dopamine and glutamate, which make you feel alert and energetic, are produced more rapidly. This is why you feel more awake after drinking coffee or an energy drink, Mental Floss says.
Keep in mind though, that the adenosine that is being blocked doesn’t just disappear, Mental Floss warns. After caffeine loses its effect, adenosine floods back into your body, causing you to feel incredibly tired. Thus starts a cycle of consuming caffeine again to alleviate exhaustion only to feel even more tired after it fades away.
What Does It Do to Me?
In moderation, caffeine will make you feel alert and focused. Some studies point to coffee being beneficial to the heart and brain, even.
Too much, though, causes irritability, nervousness, and restlessness. Additionally, some experience stomach pain and muscle tremors after consuming a lot of caffeine, according to the Mayo Clinic.
How Much Is Too Much?
Mayo Clinic states 400 mg of caffeine (“four cups of brewed coffee, 10 cans of cola or two ‘energy shot’ drinks”) is the amount an adult can have each day without experiencing the negative effects.
Of course, this amount could easily be reached in a venti Starbucks’ brewed coffee, which contains a whopping 415 mg, according to Caffeine Informer. Similarly, the 10 Hour Energy Shot contains 422 mg.
How Can I Cut Back?
The trick to eliminating some caffeine from your daily routine is to find alternatives to making you feel more awake. Caffeine addiction can be hard to kick, but there are steps you can take to make it easier.
1. Drink A LOT of water.
Flush the leftover chemicals from your system! Remember: caffeine tends to stick around in your body for up to 14 hours, according to Sleep Education.
2. Sleep, for goodness sake!
If you’re drinking a ton of coffee each day to help you pull all-nighters and stay up until the wee hours of the morning, you definitely need to lay off the Red Bull and catch some Z’s.
3. Switch over to green tea.
Green tea makes you feel awake. Bonus: green tea burns fat!
4. Make time for exercise.
Working out, especially in the middle of the day, can help you feel more motivated and cause you to be more productive so you won’t even need to stay up late.
Have any other tips for cutting back on caffeine, or are you a self-proclaimed caffeine addict? Share with a friend or comment below!
Featured Image Source: Pexels.com, fortyacresco.
Sydney Dawes is an Ohio University student studying journalism. Her passions include writing, social media, Netflix, Pokemon, the color yellow, and betta fish. After earning her degree, Sydney plans on becoming a foreign correspondent for Middle Eastern affairs. Or going to law school. She really doesn’t know. Twitter: @sydneydawes_95, Instagram: @syd_the_kid1995