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What You Never Thought About When Drinking Energy Drinks

What You Never Thought About When Drinking Energy Drinks

Do you often feel tired, groggy, or have trouble focusing? Do you struggle to make it through the day? If so, you’re not alone. A growing number of people are turning to energy drinks as a pick-me-up. Though energy drinks have gained a tremendous amount of popularity over the years, have you ever taken the time to read what goes into them? If not, you may be surprised to learn what you’re really putting into your body.Due to their high levels of caffeine and other metabolic-boosting ingredients, energy drinks have been found to have numerous side effects. They can raise your blood pressure, boost your heart rate, cause sleeplessness, and have even been linked to disturbing your heart’s natural rhythm.  Though a lot of people chug energy drinks like water, this is not what they are intended for. Energy drinks have not been found to cause any serious side-effects when used in moderation; however, when they become a staple in your everyday routine, they can open the door to a host of negative effects.

What Energy Drinks Really Are

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    Starting with Red Bull’s tepid introduction to the U.S. in the late 1990s, energy drinks have gained a tremendous amount of steam—largely because most energy drinks were originally marketed as dietary supplements. As such, they were virtually free from FDA regulations.  Because those energy drinks weren’t forced to include the caffeine content and other ingredients on their cans, people naturally assumed that these drinks were perfectly safe.  Unfortunately, this wasn’t particularly true, as a growing number of deaths have since been attributed to heart-related issues caused by energy drinks. Check this website for further information on caffeine levels and the various problems energy drinks have had on the public.

    Beware of Sugar-Free Drinks

    Most energy drinks contain a laundry list of ingredients you have never heard of. Although most energy drinks include herbs and natural ingredients like ginseng or gingko balboa, they also contain a lot of artificial ones too. Many promote themselves as having no sugar. What they neglect to inform you of, however, is the artificial ingredient used in sugar’s place.  Sugarless energy drinks usually use either aspartame or sucralose as an artificial sweetener.  Both are relatively new sweeteners, and both raise a growing number of health and safety concerns. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has recently downgraded sucralose’s use from “safe” to “caution”, stating it should be avoided and “may pose a risk and needs to be better tested.”  Here’s a great chart that easily outlines the sweetener type in popular diet drinks.  Although sugar may not be healthy, at least it’s natural, and as such, it’s much safer than its artificial counterparts.

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      Energy drinks like to tout words like “all natural” or pride themselves on having natural sources of caffeine.  While this may sound good on paper, the truth is very different.  Energy drinks that say they are all natural usually get their caffeine from guarana, a seed from a South American plant which is almost identical to the coffee bean. Now get this: guarana seeds contain more than twice the amount of caffeine as coffee beans do. So although your drink does not contain coffee, it’s usually just as strong—if not stronger—than the average cup of Joe.  The level of advisable caffeine content varies per individual, so you should only consume energy drinks occasionally if you have noticed any kind of sensitivity to caffeine.

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      The Negative Effects of Energy Drinks and How to Avoid Them

      Energy drinks should be consumed in moderation, and never used in place of physical activity.  They naturally raise your heart rate, and coupled with strenuous physical activity, they can greatly damage your health.  It’s important to always read the labels that list the ingredients on energy drinks. If there’s an ingredient you can’t pronounce, think about drinking something else instead.  Remember that natural ingredients are always better than their artificial counterparts, and that sucralose and aspartame are not adequate substitutes. Also keep in mind that coffee, one of the most widely-consumed drinks in the world, naturally only contains one ingredient.

      From mild side effects to potentially lethal consequences, energy drinks should not be taken lightly. They may get the job done, but it’s a toss-up whether or not they’re really worth it.  If you’re among the millions of Americans who consume energy drinks on a daily basis, remember to drink in moderation.

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      Last Updated on October 16, 2018

      The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

      The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

      It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

      If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

      One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

      Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

      In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

      Why you can’t sleep through the night

      The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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      Stress

      If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

      Exposure to blue light before sleep time

      We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

      While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

      Eating close to bedtime

      Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

      Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

      Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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      Medical conditions

      In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

      The vicious sleep cycle

      The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

      Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

      You get a bad night’s sleep
      –> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
      –> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
      –> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

        You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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        How to sleep better (throughout the night)

        To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

        1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

        What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

        Here are a few suggestions:

        • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
        • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
        • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
        • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
        • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

        2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

        What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

        • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
        • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
        • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
        • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

        3. Adjust your sleep temperature

        Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

        Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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        Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

        Sleep better form now on

        Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

        I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

        As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

        Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

        Reference

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