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Fueling finals week

Learn how to maximize the benefits of college students’ not-so-secret weapon: caffeine

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It is finals week and you have two 10-page papers, two exams and a tedious presentation all neatly packed into one hectic week. Admit it, we all procrastinate at some point and are subsequently forced to push out ten pages of literary magic in less than 12 hours. 

It is important in these scenarios to maximize our productivity. One way to do this is by consuming caffeine. Caffeine can reduce feelings of tiredness and promote alertness, but if consumed excessively, caffeine can be addictive and present adverse side effects like migraines and insomnia. 

However, caffeine can be an invaluable tool if consumed only when necessary. Finals week is one these times. 


Sources of caffeine

Sources of caffeine

The most common method of consuming caffeine is through a good ol’ cup of joe. Compared to energy drinks, roasted coffee boasts the most amount of caffeine per serving.

A 16 oz. cup of Starbucks Pike Place has 310 mg of caffeine. Meanwhile, energy drinks like Monster and Rockstar contain 160 mg of caffeine. If you drink a cup of coffee, you will maximize your caffeine intake while avoiding the sugar found in energy drinks. 

A I6 oz. Monster affords you over 200 percent of the recommended daily intake of sugar. This high sugar content is what causes you to crash after downing an entire can of Rockstar. 

Coffee may be the go-to for caffeine, but it can also vary in nutrition and caffeine. Besides roasted coffee, coffee shops offer a variety of espresso drinks. One ounce of espresso has 64 mg of caffeine, but espresso drinks are usually diluted with milk and sugary flavored syrup. 

While espresso is stronger than roasted coffee, espresso drinks contain less caffeine and more calories per serving. 

Optimizing Caffeine


Optimizing caffeine


Part of receiving maximum benefits from caffeine consumption is figuring out what works best for you. Everyone reacts differently to caffeine. Some people can drink three cups of coffee a day and feel amazing, while others drink one cup and become jittery. If you are especially sensitive to caffeine, opting for a tea or a small espresso drink may work better for you. 

Even if you are not sensitive to caffeine, consuming coffee in moderation has been shown to provide cognitive benefits. 

In an excerpt of his book “Caffeine: A User’s Guide to Getting Optimally Wired,” published online by Business Insider, Chris Chatham advised a 20-200mg dose of caffeine an hour for improved cognitive functions. Consume half of your grande Pike Place within an hour and you are set. 

Habitual consumption of caffeine can lead to a caffeine dependence and withdrawal symptoms if you attempt to stop. To avoid these adverse effects, consume caffeine in moderation and sparingly – your health will thank you and so will your wallet.