We’re all working longer hours, want to spend more time with our families and find a little something left over at the end of the day for ourselves. All of this means sleeping less, and one of the few legal ways to still be functional the next day is with the help of caffeine.
Legal or not, however, caffeine has some serious risks. A cup (or four) of coffee probably won’t do more than make most people jittery, but in concentrated doses (and combined with sugar, as in energy drinks) it can be harmful, even fatal.
Last week, the FDA issued a warning about powdered caffeine after tying the deaths of two young, healthy men to overdoses. Just a teaspoon of pure caffeine is about the same amount as in 25 cups of coffee.
If you’re trying to stay awake, caffeine isn’t even your best option. It takes time to leave your body, so drinking it later in the day could keep you awake well after bedtime, it’s habit-forming, suppresses vital neurotransmitters in the brain and doesn’t actually help your sleepiness, just delays the inevitable. Try these tips for more effective, stimulant-free ways to stay awake.