Drinking Coffee to Stay Awake

In college, you will often find yourself up late at night. Sometimes you will be awake at three in the morning coming back from a party, and in this case, the first thing you want to do is to head to your bed and sleep in until the early morning. There are, however, times when you are awake late at night for reasons other than entertainment and partying. Colleges and universities are notorious for the all-nighters that many of their students undertake to study for an exam the next day, complete a paper or to stay focused. These are obviously more beneficial to your college career but it is difficult to stay awake past a certain time as your body craves sleep. An age-old method for staying awake is to drink coffee for a burst of energy.

Why Does Coffee Work?

The active ingredient in coffee that helps you stay awake during a late night of studying is caffeine. Caffeine is a naturally occurring stimulant that is found in the coffee plant and the coffee beans that are used to brew coffee. According to The New Scientist, it is the world's most widely consumed psychoactive substance.

Health Benefits and Risks of Coffee

Coffee has a wide variety of affects on the body; some positive and some negative.

Positives:

  • Increases alertness due to the stimulating effects of caffeine
  • Coffee is rich in antioxidants which are proven to protect the body against free radical (particles in the body that can be harmful) damage. The antioxidants in coffee are probably the reason that many studies have confirmed that coffee drinkers are 50% less likely to suffer from breast, colon, and prostate cancer. Coffee drinkers are also 80% less likely to suffer from cirrhosis of the liver (scarring of the liver, common among alcoholics).
  • Caffeine has analgesic (pain-relieving) properties and has been shown to be effective in treating headaches

Negatives:

  • People who drink coffee regularly can develop an addiction to it. Those who are regular drinkers and try to quit experience withdrawal symptoms including headaches, fatigue, and depression.
  • Too much coffee can over stimulate an individual and cause them to deal with bouts of anxiety, jitters, and nervousness.
  • Coffee triggers the secretion of stomach acid in the body and this contributes to causing heartburn.
  • Drinking a lot of coffee can cause dehydration, as the drink is a diuretic.

Should You Drink It?

Given the positives and negatives of coffee, you have to make a decision to drink it or not. There are positives to the product, as well as negatives. Looking at the negatives, however, shows that most of the adverse health effects are byproducts of drinking too much coffee. This means that you can drink coffee, but should be careful not to overuse it to not do more harm than good to you.

Do You Even Need It?

Coffee is a great tool to help you stay awake, but take a second and think why you are staying awake desperate to finish some work. It would be more beneficial to start your work earlier and space it out through the course of a few days to ensure that you are not overburdened to the point of pulling all nighters.

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