Adose of caffeine a day, keeps the sleep away

You have what seems like the most important test of your life tomorrow, and you’re exhausted sitting in Coleman Library trying to study.

At 1 a.m., you realize there is no way you can stay up all night to study.

So you decide to take a caffeine supplement, not knowing the effect this supplement could have on your body.

Studies have shown that caffeine mildly stimulates the central nervous system and improves people’s physical performance.

“Some students believe that caffeine can help with their memory to help them sustain information, but caffeine can cause you to be jittery and not to be able to retain the information studied,” said Gita Soltane, a pharmacist at Albertson’s Pharmacy.

“Caffeine, if used long-term, can increase the risk for osteoporosis and decrease the effectiveness of vitamins, especially iron,” Soltane said.

Caffeine blocks the rhythmic effect of the adenosine, a chemical in the body that helps people fall asleep.

When individuals stop using caffeine supplements as means to stay awake, some side effects may be headaches, fatigue or drowsiness.

The most common type of caffeine supplement is coffee.

According to, “About four to seven cups of coffee can cause restlessness, anxiety, irritability, muscle tremors, sleeplessness, headaches, nausea and abnormal heart rhythms.”

With 200 milligrams of caffeine in a 12-ounce cup of coffee, the use of coffee as a caffeine supplement is highly effective.

“I drink coffee to stay awake at work (and) also when I am studying,” said Curtis Hawkins, 21, a senior pharmacy student from Miami.

“The use of caffeine helps me be able to stay awake some nights to study for different classes.”

Recent research has proved a moderate intake of caffeine does not affect the body significantly. The intake of 300 milligrams of caffeine, which is about three cups of coffee, is moderate.

“I drink Red Bull occasionally, but I can’t drink it a lot because it has a negative effect on my body,” said Deanna Roberts, 22, a senior elementary education student from Jacksonville.

For students who have become dependent on caffeine supplements to maintain a daily life, there are ways to change caffeine intake.

An article on, said some ways to adopt new caffeine habits are knowing how much caffeine is in the food people eat, reducing the amount of coffee consumed, being more active and limiting caffeine to 200-300 milligrams a day.

Some students use supplements to stay awake to study for tests or to finish lengthy assignments. Although the supplements may keep you awake, sometimes information may not be retained.

“When I need to stay awake I sometimes drink Red Bull because it keeps me awake. But I don’t like the way it affects my body when it begins to wear off,” said Darrell Turner, 25, a senior business administration student from Fort Lauderdale.

Caffeine supplements will not improve exam performance if there hasn’t been enough sleep to remain alert the next day.

For some students using caffeine supplements has become a daily ritual.

“I’m actually addicted to caffeine. If I stop drinking it, I will go into withdrawals,” said Rashaunda Grant, 21, junior business administration student from Charleston, S.C.

Some types of medications that contain caffeine are Caffeine Caplets, Excedrin, Enerjets, NoDoz Maximum Strength Caplets and Vivarin.

Contact Kia Bell at