Not Just a Cup of Coffee

Alexandra Silva, Editor

After a long night of studying, a cup of coffee could be just what a high school student needs to get moving in the morning. Recent studies indicate caffeine could be worsening teen health. Caffeine boosts tend to carry unhealthy side effects with them. According to a study at the Newport Academy, adolescents from ages 12 to 18 should have no more than 100 mg of coffee per day. However, some teens consume heavy amounts of caffeine, reaching up to 400-500mg per day. Negative outcomes from heavy caffeine intake may include agitation, anxiety, shakiness, dizziness, upset stomach, rapid heart rate, and headaches. 


The dangers of caffeine are commonly ignored by high school students and even teachers as it can become a necessity for their morning routine. Mr. Collins, English teacher, says he feels he needs to have coffee in the morning, “otherwise I get a splitting headache,” where Mrs. Morgan agrees, adding, “I don’t have a desire to quit.” Emily Robillard, junior at Waterford High, explains, “I only have coffee in the morning if I don’t sleep the night before. Otherwise, I will fall asleep in class.” Junior Emma Schleck, also adds, “I don’t drink coffee, it makes me jittery. However I’ll drink it if I don’t get enough sleep the night before school.”  Paige Walstra, junior, says “I need coffee in the morning because most nights I end up staying up too late to do homework and I don’t want to be catatonic the whole day.” The majority of WHS students and teachers drink coffee in the morning in order to be productive. 


Popular chains such as Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks are particularly helpful to students unable to wake up. Easy access to the restaurants and proximity to the school can easily start an unhealthy habit. Waterford High students have begun to rely on caffeine as part of their daily diet. Mrs. McBride, attendance office, says “probably 70% of the people I check in in the morning have a coffee in their hand.”  It is understandable to need something in the morning to help wake up, however, coffee may not be the best option. 


Teachers including Mrs Marchese who say “caffeine in coffee doesn’t do much for me,” need a better alternative to coffee in the morning. A common thread is that people have coffee in the morning due to a lack of sleep. It is important to get a sufficient amount of sleep each night to avoid heavy caffeine consumption. Homework may be the argument for getting very little sleep most nights, however caffeine consumption may be just as terrible.