Drinking a cup of hot coffee in the morning has become a sacred, everyday ritual for college students everywhere. Many can barely make it through the day without downing a form of caffeine in one way or another. Caffeine is a common type of energy for college students, and is usually delivered to bodies in the form of coffee, tea, soda or energy drinks.
What many students don’t know is that caffeine considered a stimulant drug. “Caffeine is a stimulant which when consumed in excess can make us feel jittery, can increase heart rate, and can actually lead to insomnia,” Sarah Martinelli, lecturer for Arizona State University’s school of nutrition said.
Now that fall term is coming to an end, students at Umpqua Community College have been preparing for upcoming finals by extensively studying, cramming and drinking more caffeine than usual to fuel up and pull the ever so common last minute all-nighter. Despite caffeine addiction and the desperation to do as well as possible on finals, it is not recommended to rely on caffeine for improving the quality of schoolwork. According to Justin Hong from UC Davis, “Students also assume that the amount of caffeine they consume is inconsequential as long as they can complete their work. The reality, however, is that we consume more caffeine than we need to obtain the cognitive boost we need is achievable with lower doses. As a result we become more susceptible to experiencing symptoms of caffeine dependence and withdrawal which can be unpleasant.”
A struggle students are having is balancing their love for caffeine and having moderation of consumption when it comes to studying. Although, as with any drug there are withdrawal consequences “The latest research demonstrates … that when people don’t get their usual dose they can suffer a range of withdrawal symptoms, including headache, fatigue [and] difficulty concentrating. They may even feel like they have the flu with nausea and muscle pain,” said Roland Griffiths, a professor of psychiatry and neuroscience who published his findings in the journal Psychopharmacology.
Cramming for a test may feel like it pays off, but in the long run it’s not useful to chug coffee at night because it disturbs sleep patterns and rushed studying can lead to short-term learning.
Caffeine is considered an essential part of the college experience, but to truly improve the quality of schoolwork, it’s a good idea to regain independence from caffeine and establish solid time management for relaxed studying before taking exams.