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US Troops faced energy drink slumps report

Margaret Jack  By Margaret Jack   |   Posted in Sleep Research   |   Last updated: Friday 9th November 2012

A significant proportion of American service men and women on duty in Afghanistan during 2010 suffered from sleepiness due to over-reliance on energy drinks, highlighting the potential dangers of substituting sleep with super-charged caffeine hits. According to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reported by the Independent, some 45% of the 998 surveyed service members consumed energy drinks daily during tours in 2010, with 14% drinking three or more, equating to an equivalent caffeine intake of at least nine cups of coffee.

Among the effects reported by the troops who drank higher volumes of energy drinks were varying instances of insomnia, from experiencing less sleep generally to suffering frequent disturbances, higher levels of stress, illness and sleepiness during work hours. All of the negative symptoms claimed by those who took three or more energy drinks were markedly in excess of those who drank lesser amounts.

Energy drinks have become a popular choice for those seeking a temporary burst of physical and mental stimulation in recent years, but the fleeting effects of the consumption are also well-known. Attempting to replace sleep with a wired period fuelled by the high caffeine beverage bypasses the many essential restorative effects experienced by the body and mind during the various sleep stages, and trying to lengthen the energy buzz by drinking more simply delays – and worsens – the inevitable slump.

While the study highlighted the negative effects of over-consumption of energy drinks on the serving troops it did explain that no accidents or mistakes that compromised the success of the mission were attributed to the issue. National Guard and Reserve members were also found to be more likely to rely on energy drinks compared to active service personnel. 

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