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Energy Drinks and Sleep Disruption

Not surprisingly, just like coffee/caffeine consumption, energy drink consumption can interfere with one’s sleep. This is especially true, a study at Walter Reed Army Hospital determined, if you drink three or more of these caffeine-laden energy boosters a day.

In fact, according to the study, those who consumed three or more energy drinks daily were generally condemned to a whopping four hours of sleep a night! Not surprisingly, the next day these individuals were fatigued, lacked focus and would often fall asleep during routine tasks. This, of course, then resulted in a vicious cycle of more energy drink consumption! And then, another horrible night’s sleep….

According to Dr. Nancy J. Wesensten, PhD, with the Center for Military Psychiatry and Neurosciences Research: “Decades of research on caffeine indicate that if used properly, caffeine is effective.  However, because caffeine impairs sleep, individuals should stop all caffeine consumption at least six hours prior to scheduled sleep. Otherwise, sleep could be impaired without the person even being aware of it.”

Here’s something else to consider when you choose energy drinks for pick-me-ups: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), through regulation, limits the amount of caffeine in soft drinks to 71 milligrams per 12 ounces, but energy drinks are completely unregulated. One energy drink can contain the caffeine equivalent of three or more cups of coffee.

Worse, energy drink consumption in the daytime can cause you to feel anxious, jittery, and “wired and tired” at the same time. If you’re addicted to these energy jolters, now may be the time to take inventory and cut back — or stop altogether.

Bottom line: If you have problems with feeling fatigued in the daytime, you should start by considering your sleep hygiene habits — or lack thereof. Then if you follow good sleep hygiene and still see no improvement, it may well be time to seek professional help. Get energy the natural way through a good night’s sleep, not through gobs and gobs of caffeinated energy boosters.

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