Ixnay the EdRay UllBay

Think that sugar rush is gonna help you beat the afternoon blues? Think again.

Ten healthy adults had volunteered to restrict their sleep to 5 hours on the day before participating in the trial. An hour after eating a light lunch they were given either an energy drink (42g sugar + 30mg caffeine) or an identically tasting zero-sugar drink. They then performed a monotonous 90-minute test during the afternoon ‘dip’ that assessed their sleepiness and ability to concentrate.
For the first 30 minutes there was no difference in the reaction times or error rates, but 50 minutes after consuming the drinks, the performance of those who had had the energy drink started to slip, and they became significantly sleepier.

I found this to be the case a while ago, and started using coffee instead of soda. (Come to think of it, I’ve only had one energy drink in my life and it was artificially sweetened.) Unfortunately the coffee helped contribute to my GAD, so that had to go away.
A better “prescription”, for those of you who can handle caffeine?

“A ‘sugar rush’ is not very effective in combating sleepiness – so avoid soft drinks that contain lots of sugar but little or no caffeine,” explains Professor Jim Horne, who runs the Sleep Research Centre at the University of Loughborough. “A much better way to combat sleepiness is to have a drink that contains more useful amounts of caffeine and combine this with a short nap”.

Ahhhh, a nap. How quaintly European. Actually I wish we’d adopt that sort of schedule over here in the States….

8 Responses

  1. Mmm, sugarfree Red Bull…

  2. In other words, if you are slightly sleepy and wish to induce sleep faster, this is perfect.

  3. Almost as effective as hitting the Indian Buffet and downing a pint of Taj Mahal.

  4. Not much new here. Several years ago a study was done on kids that were described as “hyperactive” after sugar consumption. They were given drinks with or without sugar, both doses had enough artificial sweeterner in them to mask the sugar’s sweet taste. Independant observers and parents observed the children while blinded to the presence or absence of sugar. The consensus was that the children that received the sugar-free drinks were more active while the sugar calmed the children.
    What we have here is a placebo effect. The children, of course liked the sweet taste and that appparently activated them. The expectation of something sweet as some sort of reward has its effect.

  5. I can’t say I’m surprised at this result, and I agree that siestas really should sweep the nation. (I’m feeling pretty sleepy now, at 1:50 PM.) I’m not holding my breath though.

  6. Caffeine is addictive. In time, it takes more to achieve the same effect. In time, even a massive dosage has little effect. Positive effect, that is.
    I got to the point where caffeine’s primary effects were: 1) caffeine withdrawal headaches when i stopped taking it for two days. 2) arthritis, include bursitis, back, finger, hand and foot pain. 3) Sleep disorders.
    Unfortunately, it seems to take 10 or 11 months of abstinence to recover from symptoms.
    The International Osteoporosis Foundation says that caffeine flushes calcium from your body. This affects the joints first.
    So, caffiene has short term benefits, and long term health hazzards.
    It was good while it lasted.
    I agree that a brief nap can be a win. Pull off to the side of the road and catch a 20 to 40 minute nap. Get out and walk a bit, then get back on the road.
    Unfortunately, i get an allergic reaction to aspertame. I suspect the same will happen with Splenda, if i use it much. Fortunately, i can’t stand Splenda. Water is my diet drink.

  7. Caffeine is good. Naps are better. I’m kind of bummed about having to go up to the counter and sign a little book to get sudafed any more, but straight pseudoephedrine is highly excellent for a little zippity doo-dah action every once in a while.
    On a related note, I just stopped on my way to purchase a diet coke on my way to work (our campus just recently became all-pepsi all the time and all the vending machines sell everything in those stupid plastic bottles that I hate) and I saw a bunch of these ‘energy drinks’ there in the cooler. I was amazed at how many kinds there were, but the one called “DIET ROCKSTAR” caught my attention. I couldn’t stop laughing.
    That’s just so wrong, on so many levels.
    I’m not sure I can explain exactly why.

  8. yeah, tht’s why u get sleepy after high CHO meal!. Asians experience it every day.

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