Exhausted. Burnt out. Stressed. Tired. Do any of these words describe you?
From time to time, these words apply to all of us. Adults have kids to raise, jobs to do and all sorts of other details of life to figure out on a daily basis.
Kids have their own struggles, too. Between homework, sports, extracurricular activities and friends, there are plenty of things to make the average child tired or stressed out occasionally.
So what do you do when you’re feeling a bit run down? More and more, today’s kids are reaching for a wide variety of energy drinks.
With clever names and slick marketing, these drinks promise a quick recharge of the batteries when you’re feeling tired. But do they really work? And are they healthy?
Unfortunately, most energy drinks deliver only a big dose of sugar and caffeine. As you probably already know, too much sugar can be a very bad thing. While sugar itself is not inherently unhealthy, too much sugar can lead to many different health problems.
But what about caffeine? How much caffeine do energy drinks have? Believe it or not, some energy drinks contain as much caffeine as three or more cups of coffee!
Caffeine is a natural chemical that acts as a stimulant. This means it causes your heart to pump faster and your breathing to quicken, which makes you feel more awake and alert.
People who drink caffeine every day often start to depend on it. If they go without caffeine for a long time, they may get a headache or a stomachache and feel tired or irritated.
Caffeine is not a nutrient, though, so you don’t need any caffeine to be healthy. In fact, too much caffeine — especially in kids — can have several negative effects.
Caffeine may temporarily boost your energy levels, but it can also make you feel hyper, nervous or jumpy. When you feel hyper, you may also have trouble concentrating or paying attention.
Too much caffeine, especially late in the day, can interfere with your sleep, making you more tired the following day. Excessive caffeine has also been linked to more serious health problems, including irregular heartbeats, high blood pressure, hallucinations and seizures.
Doctors recommend that kids stick with water or juices to stay hydrated. Children who exercise a lot may also benefit from specialty sports drinks or vitamin waters.
These drinks differ from energy drinks in that they contain extra vitamins and nutrients that athletes need to replenish their bodies — not just extra sugar and caffeine.
So if you need to recharge your batteries, steer clear of energy drinks. There are too many health risks associated with energy drinks, and you’ll most likely end up feeling more burnt out when the sugar and caffeine wears off than you did to start with!