Take a break from caffeine

By Hayley Nagelberg, Columnist

For the last two years my roommates would not let me consume anything with sugar or caffeine after 8 p.m..

Before I began college I didn’t drink coffee; I really didn’t care for the taste of it at all. Then, club events and meetings began offering it for free. Make a new friend? Go and grab coffee. Need to do homework at night? Go and grab coffee. Time to spare in between classes? Go and grab coffee.

A few years ago, the National Purchase Diary conducted a survey on coffee consumption habits of 18 to 24 year olds. They found that from 2002 to 2012 the amount of people in that age bracket who drank coffee at least once every two weeks rose from 25 percent to 39 percent.

Past research by Bloomberg shows people are starting to drink coffee at an increasingly young age, while older individuals are slowly cutting back on their consumption.

There has also been an increase in the amount of coffee shops that exist, a growth in coffee culture and how it is perceived across generations.

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Drinking coffee is cute for social media posts; cafes are socially accepted as the place to meet and caffeine is conducive to a student’s focus for longer stretches of studying.

When I go days on end drinking coffee and then spend a day without it, I feel the effects. My head starts to hurt and I get tired. The withdrawal symptoms are genuine, and it’s a terrifying feeling.

In the last few years, as I became aware of this dependency and its withdrawal effects, I would simply spend a few more days not drinking coffee and then return back to my regular patterns.

But the reason my roommates didn’t want me drinking coffee wasn’t because of these side effects; when I drink coffee I get very hyper, energetic and can’t calm down for hours. I feel the effects running through my body, I can’t sit still and talk even faster than usual.

I’m a fast-paced enough person to begin with; I don’t need the caffeine buzz to function. Over the summer I barely drank coffee, so being back at school has been an adjustment. I have become increasingly aware of the money I spend buying drinks, and the hyperactivity that ensues, followed by days of withdrawal when I’ve gotten into a high-caffeine pattern.

So I’ve decided to spend the next month not drinking coffee. If it goes well, maybe I will continue beyond the one month mark.

I know this will be good for my bank account, but I also think it will be good for my mental health and physical well-being. I think this challenge, and those similar, are good practices and should be encouraged, especially on college campuses where overindulgence is insurmountable.

I encourage you to join me on this challenge, and I welcome you all to hold me accountable over the next few weeks if you see me around.

Hayley is a senior in ACES.

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