OPINION: Maybe you shouldn’t reach for that third cup of coffee


Jeremy Davis

The key to having a healthy relationship with caffeine is moderation. Photo courtesy of Hailey Stessman/the Gateway

Caffeine is something students can’t get enough of. It’s in a lot of our favorite beverages, and it gives us the power we need to get through long days. But, most students are not aware of how much caffeine they are taking into their bodies every day.

With March being National Caffeine Awareness month, I must share my undying love for caffeine. I love coffee, I love soda, I love hot tea and I can’t forget about chocolate—all of which include caffeine. When I get a migraine, I take Excedrin, which even has caffeine in it. I just can’t get away from it. When I wake up, I feel tired, so I get a cup of coffee from the library before class. At lunch time I usually get soda because it’s cheaper than the fancy water without caffeine. I enjoy drinking hot tea before bed because it warms me up after being on campus all day in the cold, and who doesn’t enjoy some chocolate every now and then.

I wouldn’t say I am dependent on these drinks—I just enjoy them, and they happen to contain caffeine. I just can’t get away from them. When I’m working on a big assignment late at night, I’ll go make some coffee so I can stay up extra late to get the work in. I may be tired in the morning but at least I get my assignments turned in on time.

Before work, I get an energy drink because I will need it halfway through a 10-hour shift. I need that extra boost to keep me up and moving. Otherwise, 2 p.m. rolls around and I’m feeling groggy already. I’ve even tried those little four-hour energy shots, even though they don’t taste very good.

But, any amount of something that’s beneficial can be harmful. When people say you can have too much of a good thing, caffeine is one of those things. Your eyes won’t fall out of your head or anything like that, but there’s a reason people say you shouldn’t drink two energy drinks in one day. Some drinks contain as much as three-hundred milligrams of caffeine and include a label that says “warning this drink has very high levels of caffeine.”

Drinking too much caffeine can make you dependent, and you will eventually build up a tolerance. Trust me, I stopped drinking coffee and energy drinks for a semester and the next time I had a cup of coffee, I was zooming. I felt like I could get everything done I needed to do.

Another concern to look out for is the caffeine crash. This disastrous event will have your eyelids drooping and cause you to become irritable. You will feel like calling it a day and going back to bed. The boost of energy from earlier in the day will cause you to have no energy later as the caffeine begins to wear off.

Although these drawbacks could stray you away from drinking your favorite beverage, it shouldn’t. Moderation is the key component to caffeine. Caffeine is great—just not when you overdo it. Don’t drink two pots of coffee before leaving for the day.

Next time you are enjoying a cup of coffee, take your time and really enjoy sipping on it. Maybe don’t go for that second or third cup till tomorrow—you’ll thank me later.