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!

 

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    • Hey, Mak! Thanks for letting us know that “Mak” was short for “Makayla!” We’re glad you visited today’s Wonder and shared your feelings about energy drinks and sports drinks! :-)

    • We’d like to say thank YOU, Jayla, for visiting today’s Wonder and for letting us know that you learned some healthier ways to recharge your body! :-)

    • Hi, Missy! Gatorade® is not one of the “engergy” drinks that we talk about in today’s Wonder (the kind that has lots of caffeine and sugar)! Gatorade® is a type of specialty sports drink. Even though some flavors of sports drinks do have sugar in them, they help replace nutrients your body loses while exercising! It’s OK if you like Gatorade® and some other Wonder Friends don’t. The world wouldn’t be quite as WONDERful as it is if we all liked and disliked the exact same things! :-)

    • We like your comments very much, Ria! We like how you always say, “Go!” Thank you for being a GREAT Wonder Friend! :-)

    • You’re quite welcome, Alice! We’re so glad you visited this Wonder we suggested for your and that you let us know you liked it! :-)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • How can you recharge your batteries?
  • Are energy drinks a good way to recharge?
  • What are some of the effects caffeine has on the body?

Wonder Gallery

kid sleeping on clock_shutterstock_58640047Vimeo Video

Try It Out

Ready to recharge? Every once in a while, we all need to step back, relax and recharge our batteries.

Before we get to the relaxing and recharging, though, let’s first take a look at what runs us down. Find a comfortable spot to sit and think.

Give some thought to what drains your batteries. Are you getting enough sleep?

Are there things in your life that are stressing you out? Is your daily schedule simply too busy to keep up with?

Are there things about your day-to-day and week-to-week life that you would change if you could? If you identify things that drain your energy — and then change them — you can make a positive difference in your life.

Regardless of the changes you might make, though, there will always be times when you need some extra rest and relaxation to help recharge your batteries. Here are some fun ways that you can recharge your batteries as a family:

  • Read! Turn off the television, pick out a book the whole family will enjoy and sit down on the couch to read aloud. Getting out of your routine to take some time to read and relax together can help you refocus on what’s important in life.
  • Exercise! Recharging your batteries doesn’t necessarily mean taking a nap. Sometimes taking a slow walk together as a family can give your spirits and energy levels a boost. Romp in the park or even play a game of soccer. Your body will thank you!
  • Laugh! Is laughter the best medicine? A lot of people think so. Rent a funny movie, pile into bed and watch it together. Make some fun snacks and let the cares of the world go away as you giggle, guffaw and chortle with your family.
  • Nap! Sometimes your body simply needs more rest. Give it what it needs. Find a comfy spot, get a pillow and a blanket, and just rest. Free your mind of its worries by thinking about relaxing places you’d like to visit. Sweet dreams!

 

Still Wondering

Check out Science NetLinks’ Energy Sources and Use lesson to learn how to distinguish between renewable and nonrenewable sources of energy while comparing the benefits and drawbacks of each.

 

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