by Mark Miller 5 min read
Truckers drive vehicles that weigh up to 80,000 pounds (36,287 kg) loaded. With such a big rig, it's vitally important that truckers remain alert while behind the wheel because a crash can be devastating for all involved.
One way to stay awake—a way that saves truckers' lives—is to take caffeine, but just in normal amounts.
Truckers see it all on the road: drivers in other vehicles nodding off, people high on drugs and alcohol, teens who just started driving, and older people who should not have their driver's license anymore.
And driving near truckers are people texting, putting on their makeup, and fiddling with the stereo or their cigarettes, to name a few distracted driving habits.
Obviously, the situation becomes a lot more treacherous if it's the trucker who gets drowsy because their vehicles are so large. It is vitally important that truckers find ways to stay alert the entire time they are on the road.
Drivers are three times more likely to crash if they are drowsy. Researchers say the risks of driving while drowsy are similar to driving while intoxicated. .
About 16.5 percent of crashes with fatalities involved fatigued drivers, according to the American Automobile Association Foundation for Traffic Safety  That comes to more than 6,000 fatalities per year.
So fatigue and drowsiness, also known as tiredness, are a real concern. And it is especially a concern for truckers because they drive for such long periods and operate such huge vehicles.
But truckers have a way to help save their lives and the lives of others: caffeine. A 2013 study found that truckers who consume caffeine are 63% less likely to crash . The American Association for the Advancement of Science writes:
Long distance commercial drivers who consume caffeinated substances such as coffee or energy drinks, to stay awake while driving, are significantly less likely to crash than those who do not, even though they drive longer distances and sleep less, finds a study published today on bmj.com.
Driving for extended periods in a sedentary position can increase drowsiness, but the British Medical Journal study found that caffeine can counteract the body's tendency to become fatigued.
But there was a caveat:
They do say, however, that the benefit is only useful for a short time and that having regular breaks, napping and appropriate work schedules are strongly recommended.
Another study says truckers who get too much caffeine crash even more than those who have just a normal amount. 
Dr. Ashleigh Filtness, a British researcher, led the study. She said :
This is a safety concern as sleepiness more than doubles the risk of being involved in a crash.
A common countermeasure is caffeine—used in various forms including drinks and pills—and as previous studies have shown it can have a positive impact on crash risk.
However, when it's consumed in high amounts over long periods it has the potential to impair sleep, and actually increase tiredness and safety risk.
Haulage companies and businesses looking to improve driver safety should take a holistic approach by finding ways to improve sleep and health together—simply recommend caffeine is not enough.
Make sure you get at least your usual amount of caffeine before you set out. If you drink two cups of coffee every morning, then drink that much before you begin your trip. Getting less caffeine than you are accustomed to can result in drowsiness if you have caffeine dependence .
If you don't want to stop every hour to use the bathroom, avoid coffee or sodas. Instead, consider trying Viter Energy Mints , which have 40 mg of caffeine per mint. The mints freshen your breath and also contain energy-sustaining B vitamins.
You need a combination of methods to avoid drowsiness and stay awake. Experts give three key lifestyle practices to stay awake and alert on the road:
These three areas, getting the right amount of sleep, a good diet, and adequate exercise, all improve overall health. When you are healthy, you may sleep better and experience less drowsiness.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine advises that if a driver is fatigued or drowsy, the only way to overcome it is to stop and get some sleep. Even a 20-minute nap can refresh you for a while.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine lists three myths, practices that do not lessen drowsiness that people sometimes try: chewing gum, playing loud music, opening the window, or putting on the air conditioning.
Symptoms of drowsiness while driving include:
Remember, if you get too tired to continue driving, stop driving. Take a nap. Or get a good night's sleep. Truckers should rely on caffeine, short walks, and healthy eating to avoid drowsiness in the first place.
by Mark Miller 3 min read
Erectile dysfunction. In combination, those are two of the ugliest words known to man. But can caffeine help you get it up?
Science hasn't found the definitive answer to this question, but one study concluded that fewer men who consume caffeine have problems performing. The study said:
Caffeine intake reduced the odds of prevalent ED, especially an intake equivalent to approximately 2-3 daily cups of coffee (170-375 mg/day). This reduction was also observed among overweight/obese and hypertensive, but not among diabetic men. Yet, these associations are warranted to be investigated in prospective studies
by Mark Miller 4 min read
Many breastfeeding mothers wonder if it's OK to take caffeine. In fact, many nursing mothers just avoid caffeine in case it would keep their babies fussy, jittery and awake.
The answer is yes, you can take caffeine while breastfeeding, as long as you don't go over about 300 mg a day.
It's an important question because caffeine is in so many products, and taking coffee, tea, or soda is such a common ritual.
And breastfeeding mothers may be tempted to take caffeinated products because they are deprived of sleep by their newborns' odd sleep schedule.
by Mark Miller 5 min read
You might think gum chewing is an activity with little or no benefits besides the pleasure and flavor, but think again. Chewing gum has several benefits.
In addition to freshening your breath, sugar-free gum can help prevent cavities and contribute to overall oral health. But that's just the beginning.