Drink With Caution: Energy Drinks

The energy drink industry is booming.  Global energy drink sales reached almost $50 billion in 2014, according to BeverageDaily.com.  With our increasingly busy day-to-day schedules and never-ending commutes, its no wonder people are vying for energy drinks.  But is it really worth losing quality sleep for the short energy boost? Are there better alternatives?

The Back-story

Red Bull was the first energy drink to hit the US market, launching in 1997.  Since then, there’s been an explosion of energy drink sales thanks to Red Bull and the many brands that have followed.  Energy drinks were once marketed as “dietary supplements”, targeting athletes and people looking for a quick pick-me-up in between meals.  Now, energy drinks have found their way into our everyday lives, whether it’s that all-nighter spent finishing a paper, or that Vodka Red Bull with friends.  

What’s in an Energy Drink

Lots of caffeine and of course, sugar. So just how much caffeine is in that Monster energy drink? A whopping 160mg per 16-oz serving.  And many energy drinks can contain 50 to 60 grams of sugar in a 16-oz can. 

How Energy Drinks Affect Your Sleep

Right, energy drinks aren’t meant to put you to sleep, in fact quite the opposite.  But what happens when you actually need sleep? We all know that quality sleep is important for a healthy lifestyle.  Not only do energy drinks work against sleep, but they cause you to feel anxious, jumpy, and wired even when your body is tired.  With the high caffeine and sugar content, energy drinks can be addicting, causing you headaches, sleeplessness, or nausea.  The effect of energy drinks on the heart is a growing concern.  Studies have shown that the consumption of energy drinks can raise blood pressure to unhealthy and potentially deadly levels.  Energy drinks can be great for a quick energy boost, but it’s important to be aware of what you’re drinking and the potential side effects. 

Alternative Energy Boosters

  • A cup of Joe, unsweetened black tea
  • Green tea for a little caffeine fix
  • Coconut water, nature’s sports drink: Coconut water has high levels of minerals and potassium
  • Exercise
  • Get some sunlight: Studies show that a little time outdoors reduces stress and lowers blood pressure. Sunlight can also increase serotonin levels, lifting your mood and increasing overall energy