Many people suffer from not getting enough sleep or they have too many things to do in the day and not enough energy! Does this sound like you? Energy drinks can provide a quick burst of energy, they’re widely available, and there literally designed to be addicting. Don’t like the taste of coffee or tea? Energy drinks have lots of different flavor options you can choose from!
This is a good question because it probably seems counterintuitive, energy drinks are supposed to give you energy right? Energy drinks can inadvertently make you tired for a number of reasons. One of the main reasons is you may be experiencing a sugar crash. Energy drinks have significant amounts of sugar in them and this can cause your body to release insulin in response to the sugar crash, the resulting decrease in blood sugar can make you feel incredibly fatigued,
Caffeine is one of the most well-known, used, and even abused substances in the world. The reason caffeine keeps you awake is because of the relation it has with another chemical in your system. Adenosine is a chemical that builds up over time while you’re awake, once it reaches a certain limit you will begin to feel tired and will want to fall asleep! Caffeine, however, prevents this neurotransmitter from working on you which minimizes how tired you feel and keeps you alert!
Some people tend to be sensitive to caffeine, it can cause jitters, anxiety, and more. Energy drinks can contain 100’s of milligrams of caffeine, so if you are sensitive it may be something to look out for. A regular cup of coffee only has between 70 and 150mg of caffeine, so you may be overwhelmed the first time you try an energy drink.
Sugar is another chemical that can cause a burst of immediate energy, this phenomenon is commonly referred to as a sugar rush! Energy drinks are infamous for having loads of sugar in them, they will regularly have 40-50+ grams of sugar. A cup of coffee with 2 sugar cubes only contains 8 grams of sugar, so this will be an ingredient you will want to look out for!
The American Heart Association
recommends you get 36 grams of sugar a day for men and just 25 grams of sugar a day for women. So one energy drink can easily go over the recommended amount of energy for the whole day! Sugar is also incredibly addictive since it causes our brain to release “feel good” chemicals like dopamine and serotonin, which will make your body want more of it. It can, however, enhance your mood along with your energy as well!
Some other ingredients in energy drinks also contribute to their effects on your energy and mood. The common ingredients that have adverse effects on mood and energy include:
Taurine helps do a number of things in the body. Mainly, it helps to regulate heartbeat, muscle contractions, and energy levels! Studies have even shown it has positive effects on blood flow, and oxygen supply. This makes it a great candidate to keep you awake and alert.
Guarana is added to energy drinks because it is known to provide alertness, and it can also be stimulating as well! It contains a couple different chemicals to do this, theobromine and theophylline. They can also be found in coffee, teas, and chocolates.
B vitamins help to convert food into energy which will increase your ability to stay awake even more. If you drink an energy drink, you shouldn’t be doing so on a empty stomach anyways. Eating some food first will help decrease the anxious and nervousness of the energy drink.
Some B vitamins include:
- niacin (B3)
- folic acid (B9)
- riboflavin (B2)
- cyanocobalamin (B12)
- pyridoxine hydrochloride (B6)
- pantothenic acid (B5)
Ginseng has been used for hundreds of years for it’s herbal properties. It is used to increase energy, have some anti-fatigue properties, relieve stress, and promote memory. For ginseng, it is recommended that you take 200 mg/day to get the benefits of this plant.
While energy drinks may be useful for when you really need them, you should never rely on external sources of energy. You should always prioritize sleep over consuming your energy. Increased sleep comes with tons of health benefits, and who doesn’t like a good nights sleep anyway?