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The High Cost of Energy (Drinks)

Risk-Taking Behavior Linked to High Consumption of Energy Drinks

Energy Drinks

With another year of school coming to an end and another year of summer fun just around the corner, your high school and college student can finally get some rest. Or will they?

During the school year, the stresses of after-school jobs, finals and looming project deadlines leaves students’ time for sleep limited.  But poor sleeping habits apparently die hard as students often don’t change them in the summer months.  Instead of doing what they ought to do – sleeping a minimum of seven to eight hours a night – many students would rather gulp down caffeine-laden energy drinks to suppress the side effects of sleeplessness during the weekend than going to bed early. 

You knew such habits weren’t good for them.  A recent study suggesting energy drinks being linked to risk taking reveals why.

According to a study published in the March issue of The Journal of American College Health, frequent consumption of energy drinks like Red Bull, Rock Star and Amp is linked to “toxic jock” syndrome – characterized as risk-taking behavior that can involve unprotected sex, violence and substance abuse.

The study’s researchers, led by University of Buffalo professor and author Kathleen Miller, note that while the drinks themselves don’t cause risk taking, but there does seem to be a correlation between high consumption of energy drinks and the likelihood teens will put themselves in harm’s way. 

Though stimulants like guarana and ginseng are some of the ingredients responsible for these drinks designed to provide a non-alcoholic “buzz,” the chief culprit is the caffeine.  In an ordinary 12 oz. can of caffeinated soda, the caffeine content can range from 38 mg in your average Diet Pepsi or 41 mg in your average Diet Dr. Pepper.  But in an 8 oz. can of Red Bull, the caffeine content is nearly double that amount – 80 mg!  In a 16 oz. Rockstar energy drink?  Try 160 mg!

What’s the solution?  STOP drinking these physical – and mental – health hazards!  They’re not only loaded with caffeine, but also loaded with sugar.  And any “boost,” one gets from these is temporary, leading one to crash back to their tired selves once the caffeine rush wears off.

Granted, your high school and college-aged kids are young adults at this point and they’re going to do what they want to do.  But do the best you can in impressing upon them the importance of getting a good night’s rest; perhaps then they’ll be less inclined to need these drinks.  It may be a matter of appealing to their interests.  For instance, if your son or daughter is an athlete, studies show that a quality night’s rest improves athletic performance.  This research was presented in January 2007 at the 21st Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies.  Perhaps your son or daughter is struggling in class, or is an overachiever and wants to be valedictorian.  A survey of students in Korea demonstrated that those who went to bed late at night are more likely to have diminished performance in school, whether those activities are at the desk, on the field or in the band.   

Dedicating at least eight hours to shut eye is a definite “do.”  But there are a few other dos and don’ts to adopt that will help ensure a good night’s sleep night after night:

• Do go to bed at the same time every night

• Don’t eat a big meal before going to bed

• Don’t use the bed to watch TV or read; use it for its primary purpose:  sleep

• Do avoid napping in the late afternoon

• Do clear your head.  Nothing is more detrimental to sleep than worrying about something or thinking about what you’re going to do the next day.  Do your best to “clear   the mechanism.” (The mechanism=your mind)

Three weeks makes a habit.  If you can at least persuade your young adult to put more of a premium on sleep, I’m certain they’ll feel the difference and make the appropriate changes.

Related Posts

  1. Sports Drinks like Gatorade Harsh on Teeth, Study Finds
  2. Sleeping Habits Linked to Diabetes Risk, According to Study
  3. Sleeplessness Linked To Even More Health Risks
  4. High Fructose Equals No Glucose? Study Says High Fructose Corn Syrup Can Lead to Diabetes
  5. Forceful Methods Used to Push Toxic Vaccines on Children
  


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