National Caffeine Awareness Month – March

coffeeDo you drink more than four cups of coffee a day?
Do you drink several cans of soft drinks or several cups of tea a day?
Do you often find yourself irritable, depressed or disoriented after drinking caffeinated beverages?
When you don’t drink caffeine do you find yourself experiencing headaches, drowsiness, or insomnia?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be a caffeine addict according to the Caffeine Awareness Association. The Caffeine Awareness Association, a non-profit organization, is committed to the physical, mental, and emotional wellness of the public whose lives have been affected by their misuse of, or dependency on caffeine. Their mission is to provide objective, evidence-based information and advice to help reduce the health, social, and economic harm associated with caffeine abuse and addiction.

National Caffeine Awareness Month is an annual event held in March that draws attention to the risk associated with caffeinism and caffeine withdrawal syndrome, a disorder recognized by the psychiatric community. At 200 mg of caffeine, you can experience irritability, restlessness, tension, insomnia, excitement, and gastrointestinal disturbance. If you consume more than 1 gram (1000 mg), you can receive irregular heartbeats, panic and anxiety disorders, muscle twitching, incoherent speech, excessive urination, flushed skin, and depression. And, believe it or not, when you ingest more than 5 grams, the results can be fatal.

When caffeine enters your body, your pupils dilate, your heart beats faster, your muscles tighten and your blood vessels in your extremities constrict. Caffeine consumption anytime during the day is very likely to disrupt your nighttime sleeping patterns. Caffeine affects the ability of nerves in your brain to take in a chemical called adenosine, which causes sleepiness. Caffeine-drinkers are therfore less likely to sleep deeply and well than those who abstain. Caffeine has a half-life of about six-hours. That means that if your 4 o’clock cup of coffee contains 200 mg of caffeine, by 10 o’clock that night, there will still be 100 mg of caffeine in your body, preventing you from falling into a deep and restful sleep.

Did you know that Mountain Dew contains even more caffeine than Coca Cola? With more than 500 new energy drinks launched last year, caffeine has become the most widely used drug in the world, according to a recent Northwestern University study. The Worst Caffeinated Product Award for 2009, goes to a box of candy with the caffeine equivalent of 11 cans of Mountain Dew, 7.5 cans of Red Bulls or 6 cups of coffee. Crackheads 2 contains approximately 600 milligrams of caffeine. If the contents of the entire box were consumed all at once, it can pose a potential health risk, especially to children.

 

Beverly’s Hot Tips For Caffeine Awareness Month:

  • Look at what you consume – caffeine is often a hidden ingredient in some of our favourite foods.
  • Be aware of how much caffeine you are consuming in a day.

Look at why you consume certain caffeinated drinks. Is it the flavour, the social aspect, the energy boost, or is it out of thirst or boredom? The answer will help you to determine if there is a healthier way to fill that need.

 

 

If you have some strategies to share – comment on this posting!

 

Additional Resources On This Topic:

Snack Foods

Water: A Necessity In Maintaining Mental Health

Food, Mood And Stress

National Egg Month

Food Glorious Food

Workplace Wellness – Sleep Issues

 

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Written by Beverly Beuermann-King

Building Resiliency Through Stress and Wellness Strategies.
Stress and resiliency strategist, Beverly Beuermann-King, CSP, translates current research and best practices information into a realistic, accessible and more practical approach through her dynamic stress and wellness workshops, on-line stress and resiliency articles, books, e-briefs and media interviews.

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