Students hitting snooze on caffeine dependency

Picture this: a student in their natural habitat, clinging onto a coffee cup in hopes of staying awake for the day. 

Though coffee may be a savior to some, the consequences of caffeine may outweigh the benefits. 

“[There’s a] need to get so much done in a certain amount of time and feeling you might not be able to do it unless you’re super jacked up on a bunch of caffeine,” Sara Zaher, a science teacher, said. 

That drives the question, does schoolwork encourage excessive caffeine use?

“Part of the appeal [of coffee] is probably mainly created by this idea in society [that] your productivity output is the most important thing,” Zaher said.

“You need a lot of energy to get through school” Olivia Lawhorn (10) said.

Lawhorn sometimes feels dependent on coffee waking her up, so making coffee is an integral part of her morning routine. 

It is recommended that high school students get eight to ten hours of sleep, but with the use of caffeine, students are trading their rest and sense of well-being for a better grade in powerschool.

“It [caffeine] could affect your sleep a lot; it’s not good for you to drink it every single day,” Lawhorn said. 

Daria Lukinova (12) gets her energy in the form of coffee, energy drinks, and even caffeine supplement tablets. 

“I feel like the more school work I have, the more caffeine I tend to drink to get it all done. I do not think that I would be able to get all my school work done without caffeine,” Lukinova said. 

This dependency on caffeine quickly turns sour with the amount of side effects it comes with, as the role of caffeine is so extreme in some people’s lives that the absence of it results in  withdrawal symptoms.

For example, both Zaher and Lukinova experience migraines when they do not have any coffee during the day.

Others report feeling calmer after making the hard break from coffee. 

“Some of my friends, I’ve heard that once they stop drinking caffeine, they feel less stressed and less jittery,” Ally Dominguez (10), who regularly drinks coffee, said. 

“Before your frontal lobe is even developed, so early in life, wiring your brain and body to become so dependent on a substance to function is definitely not healthy,” Zaher said.

Caffeine elicits a reaction in the brain that is addictive, so when the pressure to have it is taken away, it’s clear why students feel calmer without excessive amounts of coffee compensating for lost energy. 

“There are definitely better ways to stay alert like eating a healthier diet, getting to bed earlier, or not staring at your phone within 30 minutes of going to bed,” Zaher said. “All those good, normal, healthy habits would mitigate the need for caffeine that becomes a necessity when you start drinking it.”