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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Studying the night away

Thirty percent of students believe using energy drinks and supplements when studying improved their test scores and GPA, according to a survey done at Boise State University. Research paid for by these products has also shown to extend studying time for students a least an extra hour.    

“”I need it for the caffeine,”” said Robert James Dillon, an undeclared freshman. “”If it’s late at night, it helps me stay awake when I study.””  An energy drink contains 80 to 141 milligrams of caffeine per 8 ounces, this is equivalent to a 12 ounce can of soda or a 5 ounce cup of coffee, according to the survey.

For an added energy kick, energy drinks contain “”boost”” ingredients including taurine, guarana, ginseng, ginkgo biloba and B vitamins. The combination of theses ingredients blocks the effects of adenosine, the brain chemicals involved in making you sleepy. This tricks your body into believing you are in an emergency state and causes the release of adrenaline, making your eyes dilate and heart beat faster.

“”Having a rapid heart rate for any reason is not a good idea,”” said Debra Cox-Howard, a clinician for wellness at Campus Health Service.

Cox-Howard explained that some of the most common symptoms of consuming energy dinks for a long period of time includes trembling, cramps and headaches. Energy supplements that only contain “”boost”” ingredients can also produce the same results.     

“”This can have an adverse effect where you go in to take a test,”” Cox-Howard said. “”Your body is so wired up that you are not able to think properly.””

Other stimulants students may consume to help study for longer periods of time include taking prescription medication like Adderall.

When used properly, Adderall can suppress symptoms for patients with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Students take the drug as a way to concentrate for longer periods of time.

“”The real basic answer is that it is a stimulant,”” Cox-Howard said. “”A lot of students feel like if they take that medication when they are getting ready to study for finals that they will have the ability to concentrate and focus more.””  

According to Cox-Howard, people who abuse this medication or take Adderall without a prescription can feel side effects including insomnia, increased blood pressure and heart rate, shortness of breath and significant weight loss.  

“”You really don’t know how that stuff is going to affect you,”” said Sayra Arias, a public health sophomore. “”If it is not prescribed to you or you’re taking it the wrong way you can harm yourself.””

Cox-Howard says that one of the best ways to study without the use of energy drinks or pills is to learn for shorter periods of time and to take breaks.

“”When you get up and give yourself a break and walk away from what it is you are studying, your brain is still processing that information so you are not losing anything,”” Cox-Howard said.

She also suggest getting a good amount of sleep and planning study time in advance can also help improve your test results.

“”Not waiting till the last minute is the best way to study for a final,”” Cox-Howard said. 

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