Student life: Surviving on coffee…

I know how midterms and finals week can be. Your anxiety is up, your sleep is down and the only thing keeping you going is your third pot of coffee and adrenaline from the stress.

So how do you keep your caffeine high going? Or how do you come down from the caffeine when you’re done for the night?

To keep your caffeine buzz going strong there’s going to be two things you need to keep in mind.  More coffee and alternative fuel. As in, food. If you have something to cushion the coffee or energy drink, then it will last longer and you won’t have to worry about a caffeine crash or a blood sugar crash, which will make you feel just as tired.

So pad your coffee intake with some of these delicious snacks that go well with coffee:

  • Some trail mix
  • Some nuts (my favorite ;))
  • Some toast or a plain bagel with a hazelnut spread (you know the kind I’m talking about)
  • Some plain ass toast (or bread if you don’t have a toaster handy)
  • Or smear some peanut butter or jelly on that toast for something a little more filling
  • Some peanut M&Ms (also another fave)
  • Basically anything starchy and/or chocalatey

Just get something in your belly to keep you actually energized with real calories.

But what about when you finish your study craze and need to settle in for the night?

It’s a process but it’ll work if you give it the time.

  1. Start drinking water between cups of coffee to keep your belly full and dilute how much coffee you have in your system.
  2. If you have enough foresight, switch to decaf an hour or so before you have to go to sleep.
  3. Once you finish your task or assignment, take a hot shower or go through your night time routine.
  4. Once you finish up, you should start to feel the tiredness creeping back. So crawl under your covers and relax. If you have trouble falling asleep, I have a little trick; count backwards from 99. It may not work for you, but when I do it, I find it helps to make my mind relax and not wander off to what if’s, which can really help if you really need get to sleep fast.

So what should you do when you have too much caffeine and start feeling weird and jittery?

  1. Start drinking water. Literally anything other than caffeine. Now, don’t down 4 gallons of water expecting a quick fix. You have to let your organs do their jobs and filter the caffeine out.
  2. Eat some food. You need real calories in your system to help combat the caffeine crash. So grab some lunch or breakfast or whatever.
  3. Do some stretches and shake out your arms and legs. Put that useless energy to work for you. Don’t go overboard and go to the gym to pound weights and #legday. Just get some of that energy out a little bit to help feel less jittery and anxious.
  4. Don’t panic. Caffeine can heighten your anxiety levels, which around finals week is shooting through the roof. Stay calm and focus on something easy, like an essay you were already half-finished with or an extra credit study guide. If you’ve eaten, drank some water and taken a short break, you shouldn’t be panicking yet.

 

I know midterms and finals are hard. I know staying up late and trying to get to class on time during this week is hard af. But please be careful drinking copious amounts of caffeine, especially if you are a freshmen out on your own for the first time and have no clue how a bunch of caffeine effects you.

And a little ending note; if at anytime you feel completely horrible while you cram with your caffeine buddy and these tricks aren’t helping to cut the edge, don’t be afraid to contact a health official or a doctor. Caffeine overdose can happen and the best way to keep studying is NOT DYING.

 

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