Caffeine is Not My Friend

06 August 2008 · 7 comments

This has sort of turned into the “dumb things J.D. does” blog. Here’s yesterday’s dumb thing.

I drove to Eugene to participate in a neuroeconomics study. I spent an hour inside an MRI scanner answering questions about personal finance. For this, I was paid $120.

Because I knew I might fall asleep, I had a diet soda for lunch. Lying on my back for an hour (or more) is a recipe for slumber, even if I’m supposedly taking a survey for money. Sure enough, even with the diet soda, I was very, very groggy.

After the study, Paul and I spent more than an hour working out at the gym, and then went out for Thai food. (I could splurge — I had an extra $120!) I was still groggy, though, even though I had exercised. The sun was warm, and I had a long drive ahead, so I ordered diet soda. Three times.

“You know what I do when I’m groggy and have to drive?” Paul said. “I stop at a minimart and pick up an energy drink.”

“Like a Red Bull?” I asked.

“Sort of,” he said. “Only bigger. And with more caffeine.”

So, about half an hour north of Eugene, I pulled over to pick up an energy drink. There was an enormous selection. I had no way of knowing which one was “best”, so I just grabbed a can of something that boasted 344mg of caffeine. I drank it. I drove home.

“Are you coming to bed with me?” Kris asked at ten o’clock. I wasn’t tired.

“Uh,” I said. “It’s too hot. Plus I had too much caffeine.”

“How much caffeine did you have?” she asked, but I didn’t really have an answer. Now, a few hours later, I do have an answer. Twelve ounces of Diet Pepsi have 36mg of caffeine. By my calculations, I had four such servings yesterday, plus the energy drink, which contained the equivalent of ten similar drinks. In other words, I had a much caffeine as if I’d had fourteen Diet Pepsis.

No wonder I couldn’t fall asleep until 3 am. I probably won’t be able to sleep again until next week.

1 Tiffany August 6, 2008 at 08:13

I find that one soda after lunch will keep me up at night. I have never tried an energy drink. One of my coworkers drinks 3 Red Bulls every day! Can you imagine?

2 Michael Rawdon August 6, 2008 at 08:23

Caffeine fail! :-)

3 Josh August 6, 2008 at 10:33

Caffeine fail!

No, Sleep Fail. Caffeine Succeed with brutal, Ninja-like effectiveness against wimpy Serotonin and Dopamine! ;)

4 Amy Jo August 6, 2008 at 11:11

I feel ill just reading this. Moderation JD, moderation.

5 j-squared August 7, 2008 at 05:04

I can’t believe you could sit still long enough to write this post! When I’m groggy while driving, I try to snack on something semi-healthy like pretzels. You can take tiny bites and hope the chewing keeps you awake. Or call someone and talk to them the whole way home.

6 Joel August 7, 2008 at 13:45

My favorite weblogs to read/write are of the “I did something stupid” variety. Keep it up!

Regarding your caffeine indulgence, next time, try smoking a cigar. I find it keeps me alert behind the wheel, doesn’t make me sick or jittery like a caffeine overdose, and has the beneficent effect of making me smell all masculine for the ladies.

7 Karl Staib - Your Work Happiness Matters August 10, 2008 at 13:20

Starbucks does the same thing to me. If I have one of their small coffees it puts me on edge. I’m up into the wee hours of the morning. I’ve learned to just drink tea which has less caffeine and is better for me.

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