When I was an evening/part time university student, I had a love-hate relationship with caffeine. It kept me awake through the evening lectures most of the time and helped me to plow through study marathons or pull all-nighters. Yep, caffeine can be pretty useful at times. But how much is too much?
For most of us the problem arises when we start abusing it by taking or mixing multiple energy drinks and pills or using coffee as a replacement for a meal. Caffeine is NO substitute for sleep and good nutrition, which are necessary to stay awake and energetic.
Caffeine works by binding to receptors in the brain where adenosine would attach. Adenosine is a chemical that causes drowsiness and sleep. When it is unable to bind to its receptors, you feel a reduction in fatigue.
However, while caffeine is in your body increasing your brain activity, your body gets a little confused and releases adrenaline, which might cause, in addition to a boost in energy and alertness:
a) Increased heart rate
b) Dilated pupils
c) Constricted blood flow
d) Increased blood sugar
After a few hours caffeine makes its way out of your system and you may feel tired again - you crash.
Here are my helpful tips for better caffeine habits and energy levels:
1. Get enough sleep
2. Keep a regular sleep schedule
3. Drink a glass of water for each cup of coffee. Caffeine is a diuretic and can dehydrate
4. Eat a balanced meal. Protein is especially helpful.
5. Exercise. It can boost energy levels!
6. Do not consume caffeine after dinner so you dont disrupt your sleeping pattern.
Pretty basic stuff that'll do lots of good for you. Guaranteed.