I need some information in a hurry so i don’t have much time to do some research myself or else i would. A very good friend of mine who is a 16 year old female, 5’1" and about 120 pounds is considering to start taking to help stay awake to study for final, SATs, and what not. I am am trying to convice her not too, and i think a little scienctific information would help swayed her not. anyone have any good information or studies why it is safe or unsafe. BTW i told her about powerdrive but she said it was too much $.
First off, I’m not a physician, so don’t take this as medical advice. Throughout university I often stayed up very late, catching only an hour of sleep or so before a final exam. I understand the pressure, and I’ve most certainly used caffeine to help out.
To be honest with you, there’s not too much wrong with caffeine pills as long as she doesn’t take too many. But it’s better to have it in an unrefined form. Caffeine is a stimulant and has been shown to improve cognitive function. Programmers, for example, thrive off it.
If she wants to stay up for an entire weekend, that’s not a good idea at all. But one all-nighter won’t do any damage.
In my own experience, caffeine from natural sources works much better than caffeine from pills, and is cheaper, to boot. I’ve accidentally overdosed on caffeine by making myself a double-sized iced coffee at 4x normal strength. My experience was that it stopped me from being able to study at all, and I felt like I was having a panic attack. I had to get out and walk around to quell the head buzz and shaking. The point is that you really don’t need all that much more than a ‘regular’ amount.
Here’s my formula for staying up:
- Eat a handful of chocolate-coated coffee beans OR drink one large-size freshly made filter coffee, black if possible. If your friend doesn’t like the taste of coffee, she should go for green tea. Two bags of green tea will give her lots of zip. No need for caffeine pills, and you don’t have to go overboard. Stay away from cola!
- Food. You need an extra meal or two to keep the mental juice flowing, and to prevent gut rot from the caffeine. Keep it reasonably high in protein. Fresh veggie snacks work well too.
- Lots of extra water. In fact, just having a full bladder is going to keep you alert. Water is very important, especially with increased caffeine.
- Brief muscular exercise. Every 2 or 3 hours I would drop and do 10 push-ups, stretch my arms and then go right back to the desk. It’s great if you’re loosing focus.
- Get at least an hour or two of sleep, you’ll get REM sleep almost immediately. Do all of the normal bedtime rituals, and then awake at the normal time, unless you’re just too wired. In that case, keep studying!
I remember reading a study a while back that indicated caffeine improved the preformance of physical tasks but hindered mental tasks. Supposedly the study group receiving caffeine preformed slower on mental tasks than a reference group. I don’t remember the dose of caffeine used though and as a caffeine junkie myself, I agree with Going4Gain that with caffeine, more is not better. So perhaps in the study, the caffeine dose was too high and maybe the caffeine group would have done better with a more moderate dose. I find a small dose of caffeine improves concentration but when I consume too much, intense concentration on study matter decreases (probably due to over stimulation). And once you burn out on caffeine due to lack of sleep, the only cure is a long sleep. Where as without caffeine, you probably can get in a longer productive marathon study session if interspersed with occasional cat naps. I cann’t find that study but will paste another:
Coffee Slows Blood Flow to Brain
December 07, 2001 09:01:19 AM PST, HealthScout News
By Serena Gordon
FRIDAY, Dec. 7 (HealthScoutNews) --Your morning jolt of java may slow blood flow to your brain.
But don’t worry. A new study shows the effect is temporary and your brain adjusts over time.
However, the research suggests that scientists need to watch how much coffee their subjects consume because it can affect the outcome of various tests.
Dr. Aaron Field, a University of Wisconsin researcher, wanted to see if caffeine would affect the results of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) tests. These measure blood flow in the brain, and show doctors which brain areas are used to perform specific tasks. Currently, the scans most often are used for research purposes.
Field and his colleagues recruited 11 healthy adults for his study. Six usually drank less than one cup of coffee a day, and five averaged several cups of coffee daily. All were asked to abstain from caffeine for 30 hours before the testing.
Each group was given two tests – one with a placebo pill and one with a pill that equaled the caffeine in two to three cups of coffee.
“Cerebral blood flow went down in everybody when they got caffeine; on average, about 20 percent,” says Field. Interestingly, all heavy caffeine users had more blood flowing to their brains to begin with, he says.
“The brain seems to have adapted to high caffeine levels and changed its [blood flow] set point,” he says.
Field presented his findings recently to the Radiological Society of North America Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting, in Chicago. The study was conducted while Field was at Wake Forest University, in North Carolina.
Field says coffee drinkers don’t need to be concerned about his latest discovery: “The brain is pretty remarkable. It can deal with wide ranges of these types of changes.”
However, he says researchers need to know about caffeine consumption when they’re doing studies. “If you’re going to have reliable data, you need to know whether they’re coffee drinkers.”
He says researchers doing fMRI tests need to control for caffeine consumption, just as they do for other factors.
Dr. S. Ausim Azizi, chairman of the department of neurology at Temple University Hospital and School of Medicine, in Philadelphia, agrees coffee drinkers don’t have to pour their java down the drain just yet. Normal blood pressure in the brain has a wide range, and it’s natural for blood flow in the organ to vary in response to body changes, he says.
But he agrees that researchers need to account for caffeine use.
“Caffeine could be a confounding factor in functional MRI studies,” he says.
have her watch that Family Ties episode where Michael J. Fox takes too many caffeine (speed?) pills and sleeps for like 72 hours straight through his test.
What’s the problem? You don’t want her to take caffine pills? Does she drink coffee, does she drink pop or eat chocolate? Caffine is everwhere (even in “caffine free” pop and chocolate). Personally I think caffine pills are a great way to get caffine into your system without drinking that sugar loaded pop crap. Just tell her to take it easy and to only take some of the pill at one time. I usually take 1/4 to 1/5 of a 200mg pill (just bite off a corner), then you can work up to an “optimum” dosage. You can also tell her that Powerdrive is only about $1 a serving (which is probably what she is spending on her mountain dew).
cmon guys, didnt anyone see the saved by the bell episode where Jesse took caffeine pills like 24/7, was addicted and couldnt stop? this is dangerous tuff here
thanks everyone, i just was making sure they were safe as i have seen Save By the Bell and Empire Records (girl also pops caffeine pills to study) i guess they aren’t so bad as long as they are used properly. I will make sure my friend doesn’t go over board with them, thanks everyone who replyed, i guess i was the vitcim of the propagranda of teh media