Caffeine: The Student Oxygen?
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So, freshers’ week. Seven days dedicated to the making of new friends (hopefully), copious booze (probably) and a few late, late nights (almost certainly.) Although we’re sure you want to believe that your enthusiastic and newly liberated self will manage to remain approachable/awake all week (potential new friends are everywhere – quick, look happy!) there is an undeniable truth that must be acknowledged: after rolling in at 5am, gorging on two–day old pizza and passing out without brushing your teeth you aren’t going to be feeling too perky at that 9am fire safety lecture in the quad. So, we deducted that you might need a bit of help. If you’re planning on dosing up on caffeinated products to keep yourself functional, it’s best to know what’s safe – otherwise you’re likely to find yourself bouncing off the walls and generally being that annoying flatmate everyone starts to vaguely avoid by week three. And we’re sure you don’t want that. So, here are some facts: according to Livestrong, healthy people consume no more than 200-300mg of caffeine per day. This is two to four cups of coffee, which doesn’t sound like a whole lot. The amount of caffeine in tea varies hugely (anything from 20-110mg per mug), largely because of the choice of green, English Breakfast, black, etc. Negative side effects of too much caffeine “could result in transient behavioural changes, such as increased arousal, irritability, nervousness or anxiety,” according to UK government guidelines. If you do find yourself needing a caffeine boost, we think these products might be the first that you come across. 1 - Energy drinks Most likely to find in: Red Bull/Lucozade, often paired with booze Mg caffeine: 80mg in a 250ml can – same as three cans of coke or one mug of instant coffee Energy drinks are everywhere, and are often consumed on their own for energy boost. Red Bull, it promises, will give you wings, and the implication is that you will be flying until the small hours. In freshers’ period, and at university in general, you’re more than likely to come across caffeinated energy drinks mixed with alcohol - the ubiquitous vodka and Red Bull, or Jaegerbombs - a shot of Jaegermeister placed inside a glass of Red Bull/ alternative energy drink. Although it’s highly unlikely that you’re going to avoid mixing energy drink (a stimulant) with alcohol (a depressant) during your university career, you should probably be aware that whilst the latter will boost heart rate, the former will attempt to slow it down. This sends mixed messages to your nervous system and can cause your heart to beat irregularly. Scary? It’s also likely that you’ll feel tired once your body has imbibed all the alcohol it’s prepared to take; if you then top up with energy drinks you’re likely to mask how drunk you really are. Also, you’re at risk of stumbling into your shared kitchen at 9am dressed as a neon fairy after zero sleep and terrifying the cleaner. Just us? You wait... 2 - Energy shots Most likely to find in: Red Bull has a product, as do Lucozade - but cornering the market is 5-Hour Energy
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