Getting the Jitters?

If you’re reading this, then you’re probably part of the 54 percent of adults who drink coffee in the U.S. Why do we drink coffee? For most of us it is out of necessity to keep us awake and alert. We drink it on a daily basis and splurge an endless amount of money each year on this beverage. It’s only suitable for us to know what’s in coffee and how it affects us.

Caffeine, as we all know, is the prime ingredient of coffee. It assumes the role of a stimulant and provides a boost in alertness. Caffeine has demonstrated its efficacy whenever we wake up from little sleep, work overnight shifts, or suffer from our post-lunch laziness. There are studies that have shown that coffee does in fact improve performance when it comes to doing tedious, repetitive tasks. Caution must be taken however that too much caffeine can result in a decrease in performance.

In terms of sleep, extra care should be taken if you’re going to consume caffeine. Generally, caffeine can interfere with sleep if drank by occasional drinkers, whose bodies are not accustomed to breaking down caffeine without much expenditure of energy. The stimulant might prove to be a bit too much in this population and can easily keep this group awake. Of course, for regular coffee drinkers, the effects are not as pronounced as their bodies have adapted to absorbing caffeine. No matter how frequent of a drinker you are, some ground rules should be followed for the sake of your sleeping patterns. Firstly, everyone has their limits on how much caffeine they can tolerate without overstimulation taking place. Know your limit and try not to surpass it. Second. It is not a good idea to drink coffee in the evening since you run the risk of going to sleep right around the time the caffeine kicks in.

Despite the negative portrayals of caffeine in regards to our dependence on it,  there are some bright sides to it. Regular coffee drinking can slow down age-related cognitive decline. Along with that, coffee has been shown to ward off the risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease by as much as 20 percent. The same correlations apply between the risk of getting Parkinson’s Disease and intake of caffeine consumption. And yes, there are other possible components of caffeine that give it a neuroprotective, anti-oxidative, and anti-inflammatory effects.

Does this mean it is completely fine to ignore the criticisms of caffeine consumption and go on enjoying that Starbucks latte? Of course not. Moderation is key to anything we do and what benefits we obtain from it. Drinking coffee at responsible intervals and amounts won’t pose significant harm to your body, and at the same time, abstaining from caffeinated beverages altogether is perfectly fine too.

Written by: Ubayed Muhith


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