Friday, November 27, 2009

Caffeine & Alcohol: “Caffeinated Cocktails” in College

Campus life at college tends to involve poor sleep and sleep deprivation. Often caffeine and alcohol are a part of the problem.

Each substance by itself can be disruptive to sleep. Now a popular trend among college students is to combine the two together.

Some make their own “caffeinated cocktails” by mixing alcohol with high-caffeine energy drinks. Others simply buy caffeinated beer.

A 2007
study surveyed 496 college students. Results show that 54 percent of energy drink users consumed the drinks with alcohol while partying.

In 2008 more than 4,200 college students completed a Web-based survey.
Results show that 24 percent of current drinkers reported mixing alcohol with energy drinks.

The belief is that caffeine blunts the negative effects of alcohol intoxication. But is this true?

In a
study published last May rats were given rum mixed with a soft drink. The caffeine did not reduce the metabolic effects of alcohol.

In another recent
study women consumed an energy drink with alcohol. The mixture had a negative effect on cognitive performance.

A 2006
study found that caffeine had no effect on the degree to which alcohol increased errors. But caffeine did reduce how people perceived their alcohol intoxication.

Earlier this week the FDA
reported that it is going to look into the safety and legality of caffeinated alcoholic beverages. It notified 30 companies that make the drinks.

In the past year both Anheuser-Busch and Miller agreed to discontinue their caffeinated alcoholic beverages. They also agreed that they would not produce these drinks in the future.

Earlier this year the Sleep Education Blog reported that adults between the ages of 18 and 24 are using more sleeping pills. Some students also are taking “smart drugs” to improve their academic performance.

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