Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sleeping and Caffeine

By Andrew Wyne

After being an undergraduate and graduate school in architecture, I have noticed more than a slight increase in sleep deprivation and caffeine consumption. I have definitely pulled my fair share of all-nighters and regularly consume caffeinated beverages. All in order to get my projects done and turned in on time. Based on conversations with fellow architecture students, I have come to the conclusion that an average architecture student is going to have a three to four all-nighters a semester and will drink caffeinated drinks regularly; typically soda, coffee, or energy drinks. I have recently read some different articles that discuss healthy amounts of sleep and caffeine and the possible down falls of these habits becoming a life style.
A study in 2005 was done to discover what the golden number of hours of sleep that someone needs a night to be the most productive and they found there is no golden number. Everyone is different and their body has different needs; however, there are averages that everyone should consider in estimating how many hours a night they plan on sleeping. For most college aged individuals, seven to nine hours of sleep a night is recommended. That amount varies from person to person. Some people need only six while others need closer to ten, it is up to you to discover what is optimal for you and your body.
Most of the students in the architecture department seem to sleep only an average of four to five hours of sleep a night and by the standards above is definitely not adequate. Another 2005 study shows that if you do not acquire the needed amount of sleep a night many side effects can result other than poor performance in school.
“..short sleep duration is linked with:
• Increased risk of motor vehicle accidents
• Increase in body mass index – a greater likelihood of obesity due to an increased appetite caused by sleep deprivation
• Increased risk of diabetes and heart problems
• Increased risk for psychiatric conditions including depression and substance abuse
• Decreased ability to pay attention, react to signals or remember new information”
(more information on the study at
Sleep is one of those things we never seem to really place as a high priority, but the above information (“How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?” By National Sleep Foundation) clearly states that everyone should make it more of a top priority.
The article also mentions other ways individuals can help regulate their sleep. Perhaps holding off on the social calls and making more of an effort to complete projects on time, instead of procrastination, could be another answer. Holding off on the caffeine will aid in the ability to sleep instead of trying to stay awake. Often times I find myself drinking more caffeine then I need to stay up to finish a project, and then I am wide awake for the hours after the project is done. I recently read an article that said the majority of people have no idea how much caffeine is even in the beverages that they consume. An NPR (National Public Radio) article says
“Dr. ROLAND GRIFFITHS (Professor of Behavioral Biology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine): A Coke delivers about 34 milligrams of caffeine, and a Red Bull delivers about 80, and then we have other products like Wired and Fixx that deliver over 500 milligrams. And that's in the range that you'd expect caffeine overdose symptoms.”
Rest of the article is at
So is it bad to consume massive amounts of caffeine? Well according to this article it shows that heart problems, insomnia, and other problems can result in large consumptions of caffeine. You may not need to quit caffeine all together. There are many Americans and people all over the world that are not as affected when consuming caffeine, nutnit is important to be aware of the amount of caffeine you drink. Read the whole NPR article for more examples of what too much caffeine can do to your body.

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