Food & DrinkNovember 29, 2012 at 5:50 am

The Caffeine Issue

Let’s be real, finals are coming up and you have yet to open your textbook. Congratulations, you have been drafted to #teamcaffeine.

When to Drink:
Shockingly, the vast majority of us sleep–deprived, coffee–guzzling students are not using caffeine as efficiently as we could be. Clutching a cup in your first few classes may be the norm, but studies show that small, frequent doses of caffeine prove to be more effective in keeping us awake. By front–loading your day with caffeine, you get an immediate caffeine buzz that tapers off throughout the day, as our 3 p.m. headaches suggest. Because your body craves sleep increasingly as the day progresses, caffeinating too early will not give you the most productive energy levels as the day wears on.

The fix:
Drink small, regular doses of beverages with between 20 and 200mg of caffeine. The effects of caffeine are usually stable for about an hour, and the consumed caffeine remains in your system for about three to four hours, so these doses should be spread out to every four or so hours, in parallel with the growing pressure from your sleep system. Not trynna pull an all–nighter? Caffeine intake should stop about four hours before you intend to hit the hay.

Save money:
Punch cards are your best friends. Count ‘em, hoard them, cash ‘em in.

Another surprise:
Making your own coffee is way cheaper. Grab beans or pods at Metro, Avril 50 on Sansom, Trader Joe’s or even underneath Commons. Use a Keurig, French press or the classic coffee pot. Treat yo’self without guilt because your morning cup will literally cost pennies.

Not created equal:
Caffeine Content Rankings
Starbucks’ Grande Coffee: 259 mg
Plain Brewed Coffee: 135 mg
Black Tea: 40–70 mg
Espresso: 30–50 mg
Diet Coke: 45 mg
Green Tea: 25–40 mg

Make it sweet:
Some studies show that the beneficial effects of caffeine may be most pronounced when combined with sugar, so have no shame in not being man enough to drink coffee black. No word on the scary chemicals found in Splenda, but we don’t recommend those.

Get Some Sleep:
- There are many drinks that will help you catch some zzz’s — some more fun than others.

- For the nostalgic: warm milk with honey provides natural sugars, which stimulate serotonin.

- For the alcoholic: studies show that a Hot Toddy with 1–2 shots of whiskey also induces sleep (not to mention holiday spirit!).

- For the insomniacs: Penn researchers have found that regular consumption of tart cherry juice can help combat sleeplessness. We hope they sell that at FroGro.

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