Dear Coffee, You’re Mocha Me Crazy

Dear+Coffee%2C+You%27re+Mocha+Me+Crazy

Claire Elliott, Writer/Designer

Everyone has seen those Forever 21 t-shirts. You know, the ones that say “DON’T TALK TO ME WITHOUT MY COFFEE.” Yikes. However, this sentiment is popular, especially among the younger generations. 

According to Medical News Today, the number of teens who drink caffeine on a regular basis has risen to 83.2%, most of which comes from coffee. 

Coffee has a long history of myths and misconceptions. From stunting growth to causing cancer, coffee has an aura of negative falsehoods surrounding it. Although coffee in extreme quantities could possibly lead to these effects, coffee, in general, has been seen to have numerous health benefits. 

The American Heart Association states that coffee has helpful antioxidants and can even lower the risks of Type 2 Diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. And of course, the caffeine in coffee can increase efficiency and productivity. 

 “I drink about two to three cups of coffee a day. I don’t get a lot of sleep and it makes me feel more energized for my day,” Sophia White (10) said. 

Three to five cups of black coffee per day is considered to be part of a healthy diet according to the American Heart Association; however coffee with large amounts of cream and sugar can lead to some negative effects and counteract the benefits of coffee. Three to five cups increase energy, without overloading the body.

It is also important to acknowledge that excess caffeine can lead to disrupted sleep schedules, which teens do not need in addition to early mornings. An interrupted Circadian cycle, or sleep cycle, can lead to more symptoms of depression and other mental illnesses. The American Heart Association also states that children under 12 or 13 should not drink coffee. 

“I drink about four to six cups a week and try to drink decaf because caffeine can affect my stress,” Lauren Cabe (10) said. Caffeine does have an effect on stress and can leave people jittering and over-anxious. Being able to regulate caffeine based on stress-levels, like Cabe, can improve one’s mental health. 

Overall, setting limits for the consumption of caffeinated beverages is key for

a healthy lifestyle. Or, if the addiction is too strong, which is easily understandable, cutting down on the sugary add-ins can also improve health. 

Yet, for some, waking up without coffee seems dreadful, as most teenagers do not meet the recommended sleep requirement for their age group. Despite this,  there are many alternatives to caffeine that also improve alertness. 

“I wash my face with cold water to wake up,” Ellie Villaruz (10) said. 

Villaruz is not a major coffee drinker but does enjoy an occasional frappuccino. Besides a jolty splash, cold water has also been proven to reduce anxiety, close pores, increase circulation and even improve the immune system’s function. 

Exercise, too, can quickly increase one’s ability to awake. 

“Sometimes I do a quick ten-minute yoga video in the mornings,” Lauren Richards (10) said. 

By exercising, or even stretching in the morning, one can start their day in an active way, as it improves moods and productivity, leading to less of a reliance on caffeine

Eliza Clegg, a junior who wakes up at 5:30 every day, has come up with whimsical and effective methods to stimulate her mental activity. 

“I have to slap my face, jump up and down and cry a little bit,” Eliza Clegg (11) said.

Understandable.

For teens who do not like the taste of coffee, yet want to add caffeine in their life, energy bars and drinks are sufficient for many. Chocolate covered espresso beans, although they could potentially lead to a heart attack, are also a fun way to spice up life.

Or, if one is looking for a healthy, cheap option, Americanos contain only five calories and cost less than $3. Plus, after so many Americanos, one begins to only retain a faint taste of the flavor, and the beverage essentially becomes hot, energized water. 

Most importantly, everything in moderation. Coffee, although beneficial, can be harmful in extremes. Setting limits for yourself is an easy way to reduce stress and get better sleep.