By Brian Coulton
First-year medical physics student, Anna Wiesen, has just awoken from a nap. Although she has an essay due tomorrow, recovering from last night’s lack of sleep is unavoidable.
“I usually go to bed after 1 a.m. every night and get up as early as possible to get the most out of my day,” Wiesen said.
Her fatigue, felt during the day, is common among students who, despite strides to arrive alert to one of Ryerson’s 8 a.m. classes, can’t ignore their heavy eyelids and desire to doze.
Wiesen ensures she always has a caffeinated drink like iced tea to keep her awake during class. Yet, she is selective about what she uses for a pick-me-up.
“If I took Red Bull I would be so hyper that it would have the reverse effect and I wouldn’t be able to concentrate at all.” A different energy drink on the market, however, may provide that extra perk more effectively, suggests Deanna Welch.
The independent distributor of Canadian Beaver Buzz offered samples inside the Student Campus Centre last week.
“If students need that extra boost to get their day going, this is a good alternative,” she said.
The drink contains natural stimulants, cane sugar and taurine — an acid she said activates the effects of caffeine quicker. Welch says students may find the results more immediate.
Yet, Welch admits that a proper diet and sleep are key to feeling rested. “We want to promote a healthy lifestyle, which is why [Canadian Beaver Buzz] has added natural ingredients.”
Still, energy drinks are the only substitutes for the best solution to tiredness, said director of St. Michael’s Hospital Sleep Laboratory, Dr. Richard Leung.
“You can mask the symptoms by drinking them but you haven’t solved the problem.”
It may sound conventional, but Leung said the key to freedom from fatigue is having a good sleep on a regular basis.
Because many students sleep in, their body rhythm is disrupted when they have an early-morning test, he said. Late-night study sessions are no help either.
“The problem compounds itself if they’re not getting enough sleep,” Leung said.
For Wayne Koethe, 18, sacrificing sleep isn’t just a bad habit, but a result of a heavy workload combined with an irregular schedule. “University is like waves of work. There are peaks every week that change what days I am up later,” said the first-year urban and regional planning student.
Koethe proclaims that he avoids caffeine but despite his willpower, he admits that there’s a point when he crashes and has to sleep.