As a college student, I regularly find myself relying on caffeine to function.
Whether I’m drinking a Red Bull to pull an all-nighter for exams or having a cup of coffee as an energy booster for the morning, I’ve become addicted to caffeine. However, I’ve learned the importance of toning down my caffeine intake because of the unwanted side effects that could disrupt mental and physical health, including my menstrual cycle.
What Is Caffeine?
Caffeine is a drug that stimulates the production of adrenaline, also know as the fight or flight hormone, which increases your heart rate and gets your blood pumping. It also affects the dopamine levels in your brain, which makes you feel happy. However, with regular consumption of caffeine, your body may become dependent on the drug by facing withdrawal symptoms without your daily dose.
How Caffeine Affects Menstruation
Increases PMS Symptoms
Over indulging in caffeinated beverages has been linked to amping up premenstrual symptoms like cramping, headaches, mood swings, bloating and sourness of the breasts. In order to cope with the intensified PMS symptoms, some women may be tempted to grab another cup of coffee to increase their energy. However, it will only backlash leading to “tension, anxiety, trouble sleeping and amplified exhaustion,” according to LiveStrong.
Causes Shortened and Irregular Cycles
According to a study by the American Journal of Epidemiology, women who drink caffeinated beverages during menstruation tend to have shortened periods.
Fluctuates Hormone Levels
Caffeine increases norepinephrine and epinephrine levels, which are stress hormones that are in charge of elevating your blood pressure and heart rate. When these hormone levels are increased, your blood vessels are restricted which causes tension in your body. Women tend to be more sensitive to caffeine than men because it takes longer for women to “detoxify” it out of their system, according to Natural News.
How to Energize Without Caffeinated Consumptions
Although it may sound impossible; there are plenty of ways to stay energized without your morning cup of coffee.
Get More Than 7 Hours of Sleep
This may seem like common sense, but people most commonly rely on caffeine to function throughout the day because a lack of sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, healthy adults need about seven to nine hours a sleep each night. Sleep deprivation can affect your alertness, concentration and problem-solving skills.
Probably the most important tip to remember is to stay hydrated. About 60 percent of your body is made up of water. Even simple everyday activities such as breathing, sweating and urinating can cause dehydration. A mild form of dehydration can be enough to decrease your energy, alertness and concentration.
Partake in Daily Exercise
Physical activity increases the blood flow throughout your body providing your brain more oxygen, which increases your overall mental performance. The hippocampus, a part of your brain that is critical for your memory and learning, is extremely active during physical activity.
Listen to Positive Music
Get ready to jam out to Beyonce; listening to music has the ability to cause a state of arousal by increasing your heart rate and blood flow. Your favorite tune can also potentially release the “feel good” chemical, dopamine, throughout your body.
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