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Can Caffeine Replace Sleep?

June 2, 2017

 

Last month, the unexpected death of a 16-year-old boy rattled the country as the cause of death was reported as a caffeine overdose. Since then, the safety of caffeine and caffeinated beverages has been a more prominent topic of discussion. While evaluating substances in our food supply could be a step toward positive change, there’s a related issue that deserves to be addressed.

 

Why are people, particularly teenagers, turning to caffeine to treat mental and physical fatigue?

 

Often, the answer lies in a lack of quality sleep. According to a poll, more than 87% of teens aren’t getting near the recommended amount of sleep, which can be upwards of 10 hours a night. This is strikingly problematic, as sleep does more than provide us with energy.

 

Sleep is also an integral part of metabolism. The majority of our HGH (human growth hormone) is released during stage 3 of sleep. HGH is essential for normal growth and repair, but is needed in higher quantities in teens who are actively growing. To add, someone who is active or involved in sports relies more on HGH for their body to repair itself after exercise. So if a growing teen who’s active in sports isn’t clocking enough sleep hours, their growth and repair process will suffer.

 

I.e. Mental and physical fatigue sets in.

 

It’s also widely agreed among researchers that sleep plays a crucial role in memory and learning. So with the pressure for teens to perform well in school, it’s understandable they might turn to caffeine to offset the feeling of fatigue.

 

But here’s the kicker: caffeine doesn’t actually give us energy. Rather, it tricks our brain into thinking we’re not tired. Check out the quick video below:

 

 

What’s the bottom line?

  • Sleep is incredibly important for growth, brain function, and a healthy metabolism

  • Teens need more sleep than adults - upwards of 10 hours a night

  • Caffeine cannot replace the restoring effects of proper sleep

 

 

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