Energy drinks are popular among Army members, but they could also be messing with their sleep, according to a new government report.
The research, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reported in this week's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report found that 45 percent of soldiers in the Army reported drinking at least one energy drink every day. And 14 percent of them reported drinking three or more energy drinks a day. These rates are higher than the rate of daily energy drink consumption in the rest of the population, which stands at 6 percent.
Researchers found a link between drinking three or more energy drinks a day and getting four or fewer hours of sleep compared with those who reported drinking just one or two energy drinks a day, or those who didn't drink any energy drinks -- 38.2 percent compared 18.4 percent and 23.9 percent, respectively.
Those who reported drinking three or more energy drinks a day were also more likely to have disrupted sleep during the night because of personal or combat-related stressors, and were more likely to fall asleep when they were supposed to be awake during briefings or guard duty.
However, researchers did not find a link between energy drink consumption and fatigue-related mistakes or accidents made during missions.
The report is based on survey responses from 1,249 service members from the U.S. Army and Marines in Afghanistan, 988 of whom specifically answered questions on daily energy drink consumption.
News @ JAMA reported that most energy drinks have as much as 80 to 160 milligrams of caffeine, though some can have as much as 500 milligrams of the wake-promoting chemical.
Energy drinks, particularly Monster, have been in the news a lot lately because of their role in five deaths. One of the cases, 14-year-old Anais Fournier who had a pre-existing heart condition, died of caffeine toxicity after she drank two 24-ounce Monsters in one day, Everyday Health reported.
Reuters also reported on a recent study in Consumer Reports magazine showing that the labels for 11 of 27 popular energy drinks don't accurately state the amount of caffeine they contain.
The Food and Drug Administration is currently investigating if, and how much, energy drinks are safe to drink, according to Everyday Health.