How to get your caffeine fix

/ Saturday, May 28, 2011 /
Hey guys,

So as you all probably know already, I am a college student. In fact, not to brag, I go to a pretty prestigious college in the US (which one it is, I will not say, but it was rated by USA today as one of the top 20 in the US). Sorry, I just wanted to support my school a bit anonymously. I love my school, its spirit, the dormitory system, the classes, my friends, everything. Anyways, sorry. Back to my point: my school life can be very busy, quite hectic at times. And it is for basically all college students these days. We have classes at 9 PM, review sessions at 11 PM or midnight, practices at midnight, etc etc etc. We have weekend parties, all-nighters, etc etc etc. It's absolutely crazy.

So what do you do when you're in the middle of everything, and you have to stay up to do work and stuff? Well, you do what you need to do. You get your fix of whatever to keep you awake.

I've tried just about everything, and here's my two cents on all of those things....

1. Coffee - start with the basics.
Coffee does work, but only when your brain is in a stable state to tolerate it. This is going to get a bit sciency....

So basically, what your brain does is that when it is tired, in the synapses of the neurons of your brain (those are the gap spaces between your brain cells, which are linked together like pieces of wire) it releases a chemical called adenosine.

Adenosine triggers a signal in your body that tells your body that it is tired. Thus, you yawn, your attention span decreases, you have a yearning to drift off, etc etc etc.

Now, what caffeine does is that it stops adenosine from being released into your synapses, thus stopping you from feeling the effects of adenosine. In essence, it tricks your limbs into thinking that you are not tired. Tricky molecules...

Tricky molecules huh?? Here they are side by side for comparison:

Anyways, sorry about that aside. I'm a bio nerd so I'm kind of obsessed about things like this. So, what happens is that the caffeine basically tricks your body, like before. But, the thing is that you caffeine doesn't work after adenosine has already been released. Thus, if you are already tired, caffeine won't help. This is why you can have 4 cups of coffee sometimes and still be able to fall asleep. You just have to drink it at the right time for it to work. So, the trick is to drink it when you know you will be tired later.

Anyways, thus, coffee works fine for me, but I have to add milk or stevia or agave nectar or something. If I don't add anything, all it does is make me nauseated and want to throw up. Alternatively, espresso shots also work, although you might want to dilute them with milk and sugar and stuff.

Tricky stuff eh?
To read more, click the jump!

2) Espresso drinks

Cappuccinos, frappuccinos, lattes, mocha lattes, caramel macchiatos, etc etc etc. All work pretty nicely, except they work the same way as coffee - you have to take them at the right time. Personally, I just buy them for the taste, especially since they work the same as coffee, except are more expensive. My favorite drink is a  Poor Man's Mocha - a hot chocolate with a shot of espresso.

I like it because it's cheaper than an actual mocha, but works the same way, plus, I get my chocolate fix. I LOVE chocolate. Especially dark chocolate. It's quite addicting...

3) Energy drinks

Red Bull, Monster, Full Throttle, Rockstar - I've tried them all. These basically give you lots of caffeine, as well as other chemicals such as taurine and the like.
Monster, Full Throttle, and Rockstar all give me stomachaches. Perhaps it's because I usually drink the full bottle or whatever when I get it, but Red Bull in small amounts, at least for me, works the best. The other drinks just hurt me...

4) Matte drinks

No, this is NOT cocaine, crack, or whatever other drug it could be. This is something that people in Argentina and other parts of South America commonly drink. It's also a stimulant like caffeine, but works in a different way. It gives a slower release of energy. It is also known to be a cancer-fighting chemical. I personally feel that it is not as strong as caffeine, but still works in the long-run.

5) Green tea
Green tea is known as a super food, and is quite famous for its health properties. I use it all the time - I drink it in the morning, put it into my DIY toner, use it in my smoothies, freezes, ice creams, etc etc etc. It's absolutely amazing. It gives a really slow release of caffeine that works in the long run. Its effects (in my opinion) are slower than black tea, but it also works.

6) Black tea

I don't really black tea personally. It works more quickly than green tea, but has this terrible bitter taste that I do not like. Sorry, a little biased towards green tea here, especially since I grew up with it and all. 

That's my two cents on how to get your energy fix. Of course, the best way is STILL to get adequate amounts of sleep. But if you ever need this stuff in an emergency, you know where to get it!

<3, chynagrl


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