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Energy drinks cause sleep problems in military

Filed in
  • military
  • caffeine

American Academy of Sleep Medicine  |  Nov 14, 2012
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A government study examines the link between energy drink consumption and sleep problems among U.S. soldiers. Soldiers who consumed three or more energy drinks per day were more likely to report sleep problems.

The study involved a group of over 1,200 soldiers deployed in Afghanistan and found that 45 percent of them consumed one or more energy drinks per day. Service members who drank three or more energy drinks per day were more likely to report less than 4 hours of sleep on average per night (38.2 percent) than service members who drank one to two (18.4 percent) energy drinks per day or those who did not drink any (23.9 percent).

The authors of the study, published in the Nov. 9 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, caution that their findings did not prove that energy drinks caused the sleep problems. They suggested that service members should be educated that the long-term health effects of energy drink use are unknown, that consuming high doses of energy drinks might affect mission performance and sleep and that, if used, energy drinks should be consumed in moderation.

“This study suggests that high levels of energy drink consumption might indirectly impair performance in a military setting,” they wrote. “This is similar to results found in a civilian study in which caffeine use caused an increase in nocturnal worry and sleeplessness.”

If you have to rely on energy drinks to make it through the day, you might have a sleep illness. You can get treatment from a board-certified sleep medicine physician at an AASM Accredited Sleep Center near you.