Wake Up and Smell the Coffee

Teens are Getting Addicted to Caffeine at Unprecedented Rates


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COFFEE ADDICT. This coffee cup may look innocent enough, but one 8 ounce cup like this contains almost 200 milligrams of caffeine, double the amount of caffeine a teen should be consuming daily. This addictive drink has become the vice of countless teenagers over the years, and only more are joining the group. “I rely on it [coffee] to sustain me and it’s just a part of my schedule now, as it’s been since the sixth grade,” says Hager Hamed, a senior who admits to being an avid coffee lover.

Coffee. The reason about half of you are actually awake and reading this right now, right? 


    This miraculous drink is the savior of countless high schoolers, keeping us up during all-nighters and keeping us alert when making the 6:30 a.m. drive to school. Whether you are drinking coffee because it is a cool “adult drink” or just to stay conscious during a 7-hour school day, doctors are getting concerned. 


   Medical News Today reports that teens are the fastest-growing consumers of caffeinated beverages in the United States. 83.2 percent of teenagers regularly drink caffeinated beverages, including coffee, tea, and sodas. 


   As a caffeine addict myself, I must agree that my coffee and tea addiction may be the main source of my energy during the school day. However, even 24 ounces of highly caffeinated green tea cannot hide the dark circles and sleepy eyes I wear to school every day. 


   Students are replacing their bodies’ actual sleep and rest time with energy-infused beverages and it is frankly not helping their physical case. 


   Magnus Health reported in an article that “The most common effects [of caffeine] include dehydration, upset stomach, and jitteriness, but it takes less caffeine to produce these same uncomfortable effects in teens.” 


   Among these symptoms, caffeine addiction, especially at night, can make it very hard to concentrate during the school day, whether due to sleepiness or headaches and can often only lead to horrid migraines or discomfort when not taken per schedule. 


   In order to begin to combat this problem that we have, we must first look at how much caffeine we should actually be limiting ourselves to. The current limit on daily caffeine intake for teens falls at around 100 milligrams, as recommended by The American Academy of Pediatrics. One cup of coffee falls around 200 milligrams, or double the recommended amount, so be aware of how much you are drinking. 


   Knowing how difficult it is to quit your caffeine addiction cold-turkey, here are some tips on how to get a boost while limiting your caffeine intake of the day. 


  1. Cold Water
  • No surprise here folks, but drinking water like the doctor recommended is actually going to help out. Dehydration is a common underlying source of fatigue, so drinking a cold glass of water in the morning might just be the pick-me-up you need. 
  1. Morning Exercise
  • Whether a couple of stretches or a morning jog, getting up and moving around at the start of the day can actually be of great benefit to your body and mind, giving you a boost in mental health and being an optimal time to burn fat. Even if the first couple of days of exercise may be rough, toughing it out might just give you some good results in the end. 
  1. Vitamin B
  • According to Magnus Health, “Fatigue, irritability, poor concentration, anxiety and depression are all associated with a Vitamin B deficiency,” a vitamin found in foods like eggs, fish, and dairy products. Adding more of these foods into your diet might boost your daily energy levels simply and healthily. 
  1. Just Sleep 
  • As a fellow struggling high school student, I also know the problems of sleep deprivation that landed us in the caffeine addiction cycle in the first place. But just setting aside an extra 30 minutes in your day to take a nap instead of falling into YouTube rabbit holes can help fight the lethargicness tailing your everyday movements.