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Energy drinks linked to sleep issues among students: Study

A new study found having an energy drink just one to three times a month was linked to an increased risk of sleep problems

An increase in consumption was linked to a corresponding increase in nocturnal wake time (Pexels)

By Team Lounge

LAST PUBLISHED 29.01.2024  |  03:26 PM IST

A new study has found that consumption of energy drinks can lead to poor quality sleep and insomnia among college students. The findings showed that the higher the frequency of consumption, the fewer hours of nightly sleep clocked up. Moreover, even drinking an occasional can was associated with a heightened risk of disturbed sleep.

Energy drinks contain an average caffeine content of 150 mg per litre along with sugar, vitamins, minerals and amino acids in varying quantities, the researchers noted in the paper. They are marketed as mental and physical pick-me-ups and are often popular with college students, a press statement explained. 

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While previous studies showed that energy drinks affected sleep quality, there was no clarity on which aspects of sleep might be affected. To address this gap, the researchers analysed data collected from 53,266 people aged between eighteen and 35 years. The findings published in the journal BMJ Open showed that people who consumed energy drinks daily slept for around half an hour less than those drinking them occasionally or not at all.

Furthermore, an increase in consumption was linked to a corresponding increase in nocturnal wake time and time taken to fall asleep—poorer sleep efficiency. Insomnia was also more common among women and men who drank energy drinks daily than among those reporting occasional or no consumption, the statement revealed. Overall, higher energy drink consumption negatively affected short sleep duration the most.

Men who reported daily consumption were more than twice as likely to say they slept fewer than six hours every night and women were 87% more likely to do so. The study findings showed that higher energy drink consumption significantly impacts sleep outcomes and even small amounts are linked to poorer sleep.

A recent study, published in the journal Public Health, also showed that children who drink energy drinks might be at higher risk for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms, psychological distress, depression, anxiety, insulin resistance, and dental issues. The findings showed that high levels of caffeine and sugar are the most likely reasons for this, Medical News Today explained. 

These studies highlight how higher consumption of energy drinks can be associated with a variety of health risks and hence, frequency of consumption should be focused on.

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