By Anna Kellaher
Picture yourself settling into a seat at the library for a painfully long study session. If you’re like me, you’re most likely accompanied by an iced coffee as tall as the distance between the floor and your head. Caffeine consumption, whether it be through coffee, soda or energy drinks, seems like an integral part of the college experience. But is there a dark side to your dark roast?
Caffeine is a stimulant that acts on the central nervous system within the brain to give us the energy boost and increased focus that we know and love. However, when too much caffeine is consumed, it can cause unpleasant side effects including headaches, restlessness, irritability, upset stomach and even muscle tremors. If consumed in the late afternoon or evening, it can result in insomnia.
Most adults can safely drink up to 400 milligrams of caffeine each day without experiencing these negative side effects. One eight-ounce coffee contains about 100 milligrams, according to the Mayo Clinic. A 20-ounce coffee from the Library Café delivers about 75 percent of your daily limit.
If you want to cut back on your caffeine consumption, there are some easy adjustments you can make to your daily routine.
Try replacing some of your daily coffee or soda with green or black tea — these drinks still contain caffeine, but one third to one half the amount per eight ounce cup.
It’s important to remember to stay hydrated as well. Fatigue and headaches are symptoms of mild dehydration –– before you reach for a cup of coffee as a pick-me-up, make sure to drink some water.
Finally, set a cutoff point in the early afternoon for any caffeine consumption. With more hours of deeper sleep, you may find yourself needing less coffee to get through your day.