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Energy drinks are poor substitutes for healthy rest

This semester, we’ve noticed a striking increase in corporations’ on-campus marketing tactics.

Large companies such as Google, Microsoft, and Sony have already been using student ambassadors on campus. Now Red Bull, 5-Hour Energy, and other energy drink companies have entered the fray and hired student representatives to promote their products.

While these marketing tactics seem a bit underhanded, products from companies like Microsoft and Google have real merit; new programs and devices can help students complete homework faster, prepare for jobs, and learn skills applicable in the real world. Energy drinks, however, have no merit other than the supposed energy boost followed by a debilitating crash at the end of the day.

It’s a sad truth that Carnegie Mellon students keep ridiculously late hours and suffer from sleep deprivation on a regular basis. Professors aren’t going to assign less homework, and students aren’t going to drop every extracurricular or stop having social lives. Naturally, Carnegie Mellon’s extreme work ethic drives students to drink coffee, tea, Red Bull, and other forms of liquid energy.

But actively encouraging students to imbibe even more of these energy drinks when getting the required amount of sleep is so much healthier seems a bit masochistic. Even more than that, the fact that energy drink corporations are targeting Carnegie Mellon means that our community’s weakness and drive to overachieve is being exploited for monetary gain.

If your body says “rest,” then rest. The energy gained from large amounts of caffeine and energy drinks can cause insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, irritability, upset stomach, fast heartbeat, and muscle tremors, according to the Mayo Clinic. In contrast, a 15 to 20 minute nap will increase alertness and decision making skills for a longer period than most energy drinks.

Better that we give our bodies the rest they need and make sure our campus culture of work-till-you-drop doesn’t get out of hand.