Don’t talk to me until I’ve had a cup of coffee! More than 80% of teenagers consume coffee or caffeinated drinks regularly, and at least 96% consume them occasionally. The Eddy canvased some Grade 11 students of Riverside Secondary to learn about their daily intake of caffeine. Students spoke about the negative effects of drinking caffeine, but also about why they consume it.  

According to a Healthline article, Coffee -Good or Bad?, coffee is high in antioxidants, and many studies show that coffee is good for your health. Coffee drinkers have a lower risk of suicide, depression, type two diabetes, and liver disease. Adults usually drink coffee during social activities or to enjoy the taste. After looking into why students may drink caffeine, it has been determined that their primary reason is to stay awake to finish studies. I don’t have time to sleep because of the amount of homework I get, so I drink caffeine,” said grade 11 Riverside student, Paige Douma. 

But the need for caffeine is not limited to coffee; many high school students are drinking energy drinks and caffeinated sodas as well. According to a Global News article, most young people experience negative health effects from energy drinks; the most common side effects are, “a rapid heartbeat, nausea, and dizziness.” Even though the side effects can be extreme, in 2022, retail sales of sports and energy drinks in Canada were around 1.03 billion U.S. dollars. 

High school students often feel pressured to achieve good grades, so they consume caffeine to stay up late at night, sacrificing a good night’s sleep. Some students believe that they should be given more class time to finish homework, as many students work, play sports, or have other responsibilities. Douma said that she often continues drinking caffeine until nine at night to try and finish homework. This, of course, interferes with sleep – which is crucial to teens – reducing their sleep from five to seven hours when they should be getting around eight and a half to nine hours. 

“I usually get five hours of sleep because I stay up for homework. Sometimes I find falling asleep hard because I have my last coffee around 8:00 pm,” said grade 11 Riverside student Maria Kamner. According to a CNBC article, The best time to have your cup of coffee, “drinking coffee after 3:00 pm is a bad idea. Some health experts recommend people stop drinking coffee as early as 2:00 pm.”  

Drinking caffeine in soda, coffee, and energy drinks is one of the main reasons students and adults don’t get enough sleep. Caffeine consumption in students tends to start in the seventh grade when classes start to give more and more homework. Should schools reduce the amount of homework assigned or increase time in class to complete assignments? This may have an impact on how students manage their time and reduce their dependency on caffeinated drinks.

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