With midterms quickly approaching, KSC students kick their caffeine habits into overdrive for late night studying, but is their health worth suffering for good grades?
Researchers with the Mayo Clinic, a non-profit medical practice and research group, have found that on average, a person could drink 300-400 milligrams of coffee a day without adverse effects.
That is equivalent to four cups of coffee. According to a study at the University of Kentucky, 78 percent of college first-years drink more than the recommended dosage of coffee daily.
So why do students drink so much caffeine?
Simple- they feel as though they need the extra boost to get their work load done.
KSC junior Mickayla Johnston said due to her crazy schedule, the only time she has time to do homework is at night.
“Between my full class load and having a job, it’s impossible to get any of my homework done during the day. Usually I’m so tired at night that I don’t have any other option besides caffeine to keep me awake and help me get everything done,” Johnston said.
Coordinator of Wellness Education on campus Tiffany Mathews said she thinks it is important to take a step back and analyze why people are so drawn to caffeine in the first place.
“What is caffeine in replacement of? Sleep? Then we have to think about people’s sleep habits and what is disrupting them from having a full night’s rest. What type of environment are people sleeping in? Do they have artificial lights that [are] decreasing their melatonin? Are they looking at their phones too much? That would decrease their melatonin. These are all things that people don’t think twice about. All of these factors are correlated.”
Unfortunately, since students are drinking coffee to make up for their lack of sleep, they are just furthering the distress on their bodies.
Researchers at Henry Ford Hospital’s Sleep & Research Center and Wayne State University’s School of Medicine found that caffeine consumed anywhere from three to six hours before bed can significantly affect sleep quality and the length of someone’s sleep.
Dr. Michelle Morrow, coordinator for alcohol and other drug prevention, treatment and education services on campus, mentioned that increased serving sizes have a lot to do with the overconsumption of caffeine.
“Over time, our serving sizes have changed dramatically. Years ago, when people would drink a cup of coffee, it was typically eight ounces. Now people are drinking 20 or 32 ounce coffees, so the amount is so much more. From a day-to-day basis if someone is consistently using it, that’s going to have a negative effect on their daily functioning.”
Mathews gives advice for all students feeling lagged. “It’s important to take care of yourself the healthy way and boost your energy though sleep, nutrition and exercise. If people focused on that, there would be much less feelings of needing caffeine.”
Kassidy Curr can be contacted at email@example.com