Energy Cheats & Caffeine

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When the mid afternoon drowsies kick in, energy pills and grande double-shot espressos may sound tempting, but are they safe? Baptist Health Medical Group Cardiologist Mark T. Stanfield, MD, breaks it down.

Caffeine
Increases alertness, but overdoing it can also cause anxiety, impair motor skills and even induce panic attacks, said Dr. Stanfield.

Energy Pills and Drinks
“Caffeine and sugar are the primary ‘energy’ components of these,” he added. Many include supplements that have not been studied or approved by the FDA.

Prescription Stimulants
Typically used to treat adult ADHD, drugs like Adderall and Ritalin generally give a higher level of alertness than caffeine, Dr. Stanfield said. However, many also run the risk of aggravating high blood pressure, heart problems and mental health issues, especially when abused.

If you must choose one energy enhancer, Dr. Stanfield said caffeine carries comparatively low risk of side effects. However, The safest way o increase your energy  should come as no surprise: “Get more sleep. Try for seven to eight hours a night. A short 20- to 30-minute nap can also help you get through the day.”