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Drink responsibly: How to avoid a caffeine crash

Fall at ORU signals the beginning of all-nighters, cram studying and midterms. Many students reach for caffeine to fight fatigue.

What some students don’t realize is that when consumed excessively, caffeine can have adverse effects on the body.

“When I drink a single cup of coffee, I feel more focused, more productive and alert, like everything is right in the world. If I drink more than one cup, I’m so jittery I can’t get anything done,” said ORU senior Rosina Albanese.

Albanese is currently taking 15 credit hours, working as many as 20 hours a week and is involved in extracurricular activities including O.I.L., Christian Legal Society and Model United Nations. Albanese, and students like her, depend on a little boost to get them through the day.

After studying all night for a midterm, caffeine is a readily accessible way to get energy back. Coffee, energy drinks and teas contain caffeine, a chemical that stimulates the central nervous system. It makes consumers feel more alert and focused, but danger lies in over-consumption.

A single cup of coffee contains 95 milligrams of caffeine, according to the Mayo Clinic. A safe amount of caffeine intake is anywhere between 90 milligrams and 400 milligrams. Once the 400 milligram mark is passed, the consumer will begin to feel the detrimental side effects of overconsumption. These include jitters, headaches, heart palpitations, insomnia and a rapid heart rate.

Caffeine, like other stimulants, possesses addictive properties. If students typically drink caffeinated beverages every day and do not get their daily “fix” of caffeine, they may begin to experience the symptoms of withdrawal. The most common symptoms of caffeine withdrawals are headaches, irritability, lack of concentration and fatigue.

Alternatives are available for students looking to fight fatigue. Instead of reaching for another cup of caffeine, a student may consider taking a jog, doing some jumping jacks, drinking an eight ounce glass of water or taking a 10 to 15 minute power nap.

Albanese has some advice for students as well.

“Learn your coffee limits during a time that’s not super stressful so you know how well you perform when you really need to,” said Albanese. “Don’t forget to sleep.”

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