Caffeine: May keep students awake at a cost

Jacob Pitts
Staff Writer

Starbucks Double Espresso Shot energy drinks, sold in the campus center, are a staple for any caffeine addict.  PHOTO BY DYLAN HAUGEN | The Hudsonian Student Newspaper

Starbucks Double Espresso Shot energy drinks, sold in the campus center, are a staple for any caffeine addict.

Caffeine–it’s the weapon of choice for sleep-deprived, overworked students who crave the energy to power through their day. Unfortunately, too much of a good thing might not be so great in the long run.

On any given morning, dozens of students with coffee cups in hand can be spotted drowsily making their way to class. With so many places to get your fix on and around campus, coffee is one of the most popular beverages of choice at HVCC.

Student Katie Harrigan said she probably visits Dunkin Donuts for coffee as often as twice a day. “If Dunkin didn’t exist, I would probably be rich,” said Harrigan. She added that her daily medium iced coffee helps ease her headaches and keeps her awake at school.

It makes sense. Coffee contains the most caffeine per serving in comparison with other sources, as the average cup ranges somewhere between 95 and 165 milligrams.

“I usually drink coffee two or three times a week, only if I’m really tired,” student Leah Clasen said, adding that although she can function without it, she likes the taste.

First Aid professor Mary Musso says that consuming more than 400 milligrams, or roughly four cups of coffee, is unsafe for adults.

Caffeine is classified as a stimulant, so consuming more than recommended can lead to side effects like anxiety, jitters, insomnia, nausea, an upset stomach and muscle twitches.

These side effects can differ from one person to another. Hudson Valley Student James Robertson usually drinks a 20 oz. cup of coffee every day at school without feeling like it affects his nervous system.
Robertson also added that he doesn’t feel like he needs coffee to function. “I’m only in it for the taste,” he said.

While a boost from caffeine may be useful in small doses for concentration and alertness, overdoing it can defeat the intended purpose. Focus and alertness often turn into stress and restlessness, which only makes things worse.

Student Katelyn Pohlmann prefers her coffee heavily sweetened. Although it sometimes makes her sweaty and dizzy, she doesn’t feel too dependent on it. “[I could] definitely live without it,” she said.
For students who drink too much caffeine and aren’t getting a sufficient amount of sleep, time management may be the best solution. Rather than relying on caffeine to stay awake throughout the day, students should make sure they are consistently getting eight hours of sleep.

Professor Musso stressed the importance of adequate hydration, balanced nutrition and exercise.

“[Students] claim they don’t have enough energy to exercise, but if they exercised they’d have energy.”
Students may also find it helpful to devote an allotted amount of time to class, homework, work or errands every day. This can help ensure that there’s time left over for adequate sleep, which is vital for any college student. Coffee may make your mornings more bearable, but being well-rested would probably feel even better.

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