I haven’t slept much in six years. It’s not because I’m an insomniac, it’s because I have two little boys who have fought sleep like a superhero fights crime. In my seemingly endless state of sleep deprivation, I’m ironically the morning person I’ve always been, although as the day goes along, I feel like someone has poked a hole in my lifeboat. I’d love an ongoing supply of natural energy, but sometimes nature can’t deliver and a substitute is necessary—aka caffeine.
I know I’m not alone in this predicament, and it applies to far more than just bone-tired parents of sleepless little ones. Once we become verifiable adults (the verifiable-ness of that phrase notwithstanding), life starts getting real—and we start getting really tired. This goes for parents as well as retirees, college students, and anyone with a job.
So what’s our best option for a pick-me-up throughout the day? Let’s take a look at coffee vs. energy drinks.
The Caffeine Factor
Busy adults rely on caffeine to help get them through the day, mainly in the form of coffee. Coffee is the companion to frantic mornings, tough study sessions, mile-long meetings, and a host of everyday must-dos and challenges.
About 21 years ago, a new form of liquid energy arrived in America. According to this article from The New York Times, that’s when the first energy drink hit the U.S. market, after a long journey beginning in Japan in 1962. Since that time, canned caffeine has proliferated and has become not only a regular item in stores and home refrigerators but also a big player in the marketing realm, from providing sponsorships for big-name sporting events to being a favorite among the college crowd.
It wasn’t long before energy drinks became the focus of health studies, like this one referenced by NBC News. The amount of caffeine in one energy drink—roughly the same as four cups of coffee—plus the addition of stimulants like taurine and guarana can cause irregular heart rhythms and increased blood pressure, which can become dangerous or even life-threatening. The appeal of these drinks to youth is also problematic in regard to overconsumption and risky behaviors.
Coffee vs. Energy Drinks?
If you’re like just about every adult American, you probably crave more energy than you have. There’s nothing wrong with reaching for caffeine to give you a boost during the day.
The risks associated with energy drinks aren’t necessary when you have a safer alternative in coffee. Studies have shown coffee actually has health benefits like lowered risk of cardiac disease and cancer, as explained in Time Magazine. There’s also a communal aspect to drinking coffee, exemplified by the many occasions we enjoy a cup of joe, home-brewed or elsewhere, with friends and loved ones.
Coffee is a beverage heralded for practical and pleasurable reasons alike. It provides the caffeine that many adults want to help them wake up; plus it has a distinct taste that keeps us coming back for more. Some like their caffeine straight up, while others opt for cream and sugar (go moderate with sugar or coffee will easily turn into dessert!). Love of coffee is a many-splendored thing.
Here at Coletti, we like our caffeine without an extra shot of worry, and we hope you will too. Tell us where you land on the coffee vs. engergy drink debate.
Danielle Costello is a freelance writer and editor with a special interest in great coffee. After spending a few decades exploring life in bigger cities, Danielle now resides in Morgantown, West Virginia. A mom of two young boys, exercise enthusiast, and dog-rescue advocate, she spends her free time making healthy meals and savoring disrupted sleep.