A PSA: Coffee Is Not Sleep

Midterm season is finally behind us, and if you’re anything like me, the last few weeks have consisted of late nights, copious amounts of caffeine, and distorted sleep schedules. (If you somehow escaped this particular phenomenon, please feel free to tell me your secrets.) I am easily the world’s worst when it comes to maintaining a healthy schedule, especially during midterms or finals, but like the caffeine-addicted hypocrite that I am, I’m here to broadcast a simple PSA to all of you: coffee does not equal sleep!

Yes, it can be so easy to simply down an espresso (or two) and act like it makes up for the 7+ hours of sleep you didn’t get last night, but all that caffeine is not good for you. Excess amounts can cause insomnia, headaches, rapid heartbeat, dehydration, increased blood pressure, the list goes on and on. And all those shakes and jitters don’t just stop once the caffeine is gone; sometimes withdrawal can be just as bad. 

Coffee and caffeine are also not substitutions for the 8 hours of sleep you’re supposed to get every night. Sleep is vital for maintaining physical and emotional health because while you sleep, your body repairs its blood vessels and heart, as well as forming neurological pathways in the brain that help you learn, remember, and overall managing your emotional stability. Basically, when you don’t get an adequate amount of sleep, you end up doing just as poorly on that test you stayed up all night studying for as you would have if you hadn’t studied at all, simply because you’re too tired to remember any of the information. 

I’ll be the first to admit that I quickly fall into the trap of the “less sleep, more coffee” cycle, despite still knowing the risks. I’ll down four shots of espresso without regard or concern for the withdrawal migraine I know will come later, so really I’m preaching to myself as much as the rest of you. We have to remind ourselves that our bodies are just that: bodies. Not machines that are powered by freshly-brewed fuel. Your body needs rest. You need rest.

Remember, coffee, like all things, is good in normal amounts. All things in moderation, everyone! So next time you enjoy a cup of coffee, balance it out with a good night’s sleep.