Wired: A Breakdown of Caffeine

By Brittany Dingler '15, PHEDo-You-Make-This-Mistake-When-Brewing-Coffee-ftr

39% of college students drink coffee on a regular basis, a statistic likely inflated at Skidmore College, especially with the new renovation at our new “Burgbucks.”  Additionally, for those Skidmore students who have countless commitments, caffeine often appears to be the only way to get through an average day, let alone, week.  Indeed, this time of year is particularly trying for the caffeine lovers of the world, who are so tempted to substitute these stimulants for sleep .

Although caffeine can claim a few long-term benefits, such as decreased risk of dementia and depression (NPR), and obvious short-term effects like increased energy levels, some effects are concerning when it comes to higher intakes of caffeine.  Energy drinks, for example, that often contain over 200 mg of caffeine have been indicted for inducing fast heart rate, high blood pressure, and palpitations (Brown University, Health Promotion) not to mention irritability and to no surprise, insomnia.

So how much perk is passable?  According to Mayo clinic, healthy adults should limit themselves to 400 mg (about 4 cups of coffee) per day. Although it is certainly nice that Burgess stays open until 2 am during the week, keep in mind that it takes nearly 10 hours to fully breakdown an 8 oz cup of coffee (95 mg of caffeine).  This means that even if you are somehow able to fall asleep, your still-wired brain is less likely to slip into REM sleep (NPR) which means poorer quality sleep – a serious con for those of us relying on proper memory consolidation to get through mid-terms.  Good luck with midterms, but remember that although coffee is a solution to a present problem, there are other factors to consider before drinking that fifth cup.

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