From the Mailbag: Energy Shot

The Question: How about you take on buying “energy shots” to make it through the day versus getting enough sleep to make it through the day?

The Answer: I wish this is one I could take on with some authority, but I don’t have any actual firsthand experience with these newfangled energy drinks. In the finest traditions of blogs everywhere, though, I’m not going to let my lack of expertise or experience stand in the way of issuing a definitive opinion on the matter.

The closest I’ve come to trying an energy drink was an unfortunate episode when a bartender handed me a drink made with Red Bull. As I recall, it tasted almost exactly like red cough syrup. That’s a flavor I don’t find particular appealing in an adult beverage and as I recall, most of it was left sitting on the bar.

While I can’t speak with any competence on Red Bull or 5-Hour Energy, I do have a certain familiarity with coffee – civilization’s original energy drink. I’d be hard pressed to function without its steady rush into my system throughout the day. At the moment, I’d say I average somewhere in the vicinity of a pot a day. Some days it’s a little more, some a little less. When it gets to be a lot less, then the blinding headaches start so that doesn’t happen very often.

I’m sure there’s plenty of virtue in getting a “full night’s sleep”, whatever that is. Personally, if I spend more than about six hours in bed I can’t quite shake the feeling that I’m wasting too much time just laying around being more or less unconscious. In fact I’m pretty annoyed that sleep demands even that fifth of my day, when there always seems like something more productive or at least more interesting that I could do with that time.

Maybe it’s the wimp’s way out, but I suspect that right combination of stimulants and sleep are probably intensely personal. What works for me probably won’t work for someone else. How else could I explain people who seem to spend their whole weekend in bed (other than calling them out as incredible slackers, of course)? As it stands, I’ve got maybe 35 good years left on this rock and I don’t intend to spend a third of them abed.

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