As truck drivers (and in fact any driver that has driven long distance) we have all used caffeine at some time or the other to stay awake. Yes caffeine does give you that burst of energy when you begin to feel drowsy on a long energy but should caffeine be used on a regular basis to fight fatigue, especially when you’re daily grind involves driving long distance?
Most experts agree that caffeine is only a short term fix to the problem and should never be used on a regular basis to fight fatigue because similarly to other illicit drugs, caffeine can become a drug, which is abused and loses its effectiveness the longer you take it, causing you to need bigger and bigger doses for it to remain effective.
A recent book written Caffeinated: How Our Daily Habit Hooks, Helps and Hurts the author Carpenter says that caffeine use has all the same characteristics as drug abuse.
According to Carpenter, caffeine alters the mood and all it takes is a small amount a day to get us addicted. In an article on www.irishexaminer.com Carpenter was quoted as saying:
“It alters mood. As little as 100mg a day is all it takes to get us hooked to the point where most people would have withdrawal symptoms if they were to stop using it abruptly.”But talking about it as a drug is uncomfortable for those of us who need our daily hit. “It’s easier to talk about how we love our tea, coffee, coca-cola than it is to say, ‘I really love the drug caffeine’,” says Carpenter.Read more at: http://www.irishexaminer.com/lifestyle/healthandlife/dietandfitness/new-book-suggests-caffeine-is-a-widely-abused-drug-264166.html
As Carpenter explains, most coffee drinkers will recognise the “buzz” you get after drinking coffee or your caffeinate beverage of choice and this is due to caffeine’s ability to stimulate the central nervous system. Carpenter explains that caffeine blocks the upload of neurotransmitter adenosine, which is what tells the brain that we’re drowsy in the absence of caffeine.
In some people blood pressure may rise and their heart rates may increase, an indication of a psychoactive drug – a stimulant drug. Stimulants cause short term relief of fatigue but according to Carpenter they also decrease reaction times and sharpen focus, temporarily.
Clearly as a short term fix, caffeine may seem like a good solution but the more caffeine you consume the more you need to maintain the same effect on your body.
And coffee isn’t the only culprit, energy drinks are also a huge source of caffeine and many use them on a regular basis to fight fatigue rather than addressing the source of the problem and dealing with it head on.
Drinking too much coffee and caffeinated drinks can be detrimental to your health. Coffee stimulates the production of hydrochloric acid which causes gas and bloating, IBS and even colon cancer.
Ulcers are believed to be caused by the Helicobacter pylori bacteria. However, the acidic effect coffee has on the stomach may contribute to providing the weakened stomach lining necessary for Helicobacter pylori bacteria to multiply in the stomach.
Too much coffee can also irritate the small intestine which can lead to abdominal spasms, cramps and elimination problems.
Heartburn is another negative effect of too much caffeine and in fact nutritionists say we shouldn’t consume more than 2 cups of coffee on any given day.
So ultimately, dealing with the cause of fatigue and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are the best ways to fight fatigue, coffee or caffeinated drinks should never be a long term solution.