It wasn’t all that long ago that the only legal choices for someone who needed a little pick-me-up were coffee or soft drinks. Today, we have a lot more choices that carry quite a jolt to your body … most of them in the form of energy drinks like Monster, Red Bull and Five Hour Energy. The U.S. Army, however, is seeing some significant problems from the use of these drinks.
Researchers looked at service members deployed in Afghanistan in 2010. A random survey of U.S. Army and Marine combat troops there revealed that nearly half of them consume at least one energy drink per day and 14-percent consumed three or more.
Some energy drink brands contain the caffeine equivalent of three cups of coffee. Ironically, these drinks, which are advertised to boost energy, can cause daytime sleepiness and impair performance when consumed in excess, the study found.
According to the study, the service members who consume three or more energy drinks per day averaged four hours of sleep per night or less.
While the study did not find a correlation between energy drink consumption and accident rates due to sleepiness, the study’s authors recommend service members should be informed about “the potential adverse effects of excessive energy drink consumption on sleep and mission performance, and should be encouraged to moderate their energy drink consumption in combat environments.”