Jonesing for a cup of joe each morning? Could be your genes. According to new research, caffeine addiction could be in your DNA. As reported by HealthDay, “New research suggests that individuals who carry a so-called ‘high-consumption’ variation of either gene appear to drink more coffee, relative to those who carry a ‘low-consumption’ variant.”
Here’s one problem with the latest news: kids are drinking more and more caffeine at younger ages. We’re not sure exactly when it happened, but sometime in recent history Starbucks became a hot hangout for the tween set. As coffee drinkers are getting younger and younger, will we soon be ordering triple toddler cappuccinos? Probably not, but the recent popularity of coffee and energy drinks among children and teens begs the question: Is coffee really bad for kids?
Not surprisingly, a recent study found that kids who consumed more caffeine tended to get fewer hours of sleep. The study did not specify, however, whether kids were purposefully drinking more caffeine to stay awake longer (to do homework) or simply did not feel tired because they had caffeine during the day.
Besides feeling groggy and tired the next day, sleep deprivation can also impact growth and development. Growth hormone is secreted during nighttime sleep, so kids who don’t get enough sleep could potentially have impaired growth as a result.
In this study, the main source of caffeine in the participant’s diets was soda. Other sources of caffeine include coffee, tea, energy drinks and chocolate. The amount of caffeine in these foods and drinks can vary considerably from brand to brand.
The best way to make sure a caffeine buzz does not interfere with sleep is to switch to decaf after noon. And parents may want to limit kids’ caffeine intake altogether as most caffeine-containing drinks are also full of empty calories.