Caffeine does more harm than good

I owe most of my college successes and busy social life to my large consumption of caffeine. Every morning following a long night, or when I’m up late studying, I crack open a can of Red Bull.

I know I’m not the only student that heavily relies on caffeine. A lot of students depend on multiple cups of coffee to keep up with their studies, be involved in organizations, work at their jobs and maintain a social life outside of school. Despite this reality, almost everyone is aware that caffeine is harmful. The Drug Abuse Resistance Education program teaches the effects of caffeine to fifth graders across the nation to guide them toward a healthy path for the future. Even though I was in D.A.R.E. almost 10 years ago, I still remember the values that were taught, and I strongly agree with what was instilled in me. However, I never paid much attention to the harms of that drug.

This all changed when I realized I had a caffeine problem coming out of last semester’s finals. I would go days without sleep because I was living on caffeine pills and energy drinks. When 2018 started, I decided to better improve my health. It would be impossible for me to completely cut caffeine out of my diet, but I have decided to limit my consumption — and I suggest others do the same.

I have successfully made it a month without any energy drinks. To achieve this goal, I have been looking to friends and family for advice and ideas to help limit my caffeine intake. A few ideas I have found helpful are short workouts, drinking green tea, getting more sleep, drinking more water, eating healthy snacks, and doing yoga and meditation. Personally, I have been relying on the more natural options in place of caffeine. I have found green tea to be a sufficient substitute for coffee. A short power nap between classes is my cure to a dragging afternoon. Finally, small, healthy snacks like fruits and nuts are perfect for a late-night study session. The protein and natural sugars will get your mind flowing and get you through the night.

I recommend using alternatives to caffeine because it has not only physically helped me have clearer skin, but my overall mental health has improved because reducing my caffeine intake has allowed me to sleep better and feel less anxious in all aspects of my life.