Apr 28, 2009

Zombies invade campus

by Tim Mattingly

Mumbling incoherent phrases, these zombified collegians begin the long lurch home. But no rest will come as these consumers of caffeine embark on an all-night academic feast.

Dawn comes to the sleepless hordes, which by some act of God have not gone into an energy-drink-induced coma.

However, caffeine substance abuse is not without repercussions.

Overconsumption of succulent stimulants, such as coffee and energy beverages, runs the risk of breeding caffeine dependency. On top of increasing urinary habits, caffeine affects both the cardiovascular and nervous system, according to an Associated Content health article.

Sure, the initial energy surge can make one as perky as a bunny in spring, but at the same time, the body begins to build up a caffeine tolerance. Over time, it takes more and more to feed the inner-energy fiend. It is when the body begins to require over 600 milligrams of caffeine to operate, according to the Associated Content article, that the bunny becomes a beast.

As the internal caffeine-concocted transformation takes places, the initial stages of academic zombification begin to manifest themselves. The warning signs include a heightened sense of anxiety, insomnia and jitteriness, according to the Associated Content article.

The thought process begins to jumble and focus fades, but the ever-diligent student plows forward as night becomes day, and day becomes night, and all sense of time blurs. Deprivation of sleep summons a student’s brain and body to tread further down the path of zombification.

Neuropsychological tests of sleep deprivation reveal “significant impairments” to frontal lobe function, according to a medical abstract on websciences.org. As a result, brain-to-tongue coordination becomes a casualty over extended periods of sleeplessness. Thus, students begin to mumble zombie-like incoherencies, as they grunt their way through research papers and study.

Not only will a sleep-deprived student speak like a zombie, they also experience a similar decrease in motor skills and reasoning. In fact, studies found sleep deprivation to be worse than intoxication, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

The constant influx of caffeine into the bloodstream mixed with extreme sleep deprivation can cause curious side effects. The deprived individuals will hear things, see things and say things that just do not make sense because their senses are shot. Additionally, these ailments of the all-nighter cannot simply be overcome by caffeine, claims the NINDS.

But student zombies do not listen to such caveats. All they hear is the brewing of coffee and the cracking open of energy beverages, as they hunger to devour both studies and papers.

Restless are the nights of zombified sleep deprivation at the hands of exuberant caffeine consumption. And the mornings following all-night academic excursions bring no peace. Finals week cranes its head and issues forth a fresh infestation of students, mindlessly wandering campus corridors, while spewing gibberish and drool.


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