Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Major Professor

Lisa Jahns

Committee Members

Marsha Spence, Jung Han Kim


The purpose of this project was to examine the relationship between caffeine consumption and sleep habits in emerging adults (those individuals aged 18 to 21 years old attending college) by 1) describing caffeinated beverage consumption and sleep patterns and 2) describing the association between reported caffeine use and reported bedtime and hours of sleep per night. Normal sleeping routines are one of the first things that are negatively affected and changed for college students. Sleeping problems, lower sleep quantity, and poorer sleep quality usually goes hand in hand with increasing academia levels or grades. Caffeine is the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world. It induces many physiological and cognitive affects; while causing many unwanted ones, like sleeplessness, anxiety, and heart palpitations.

Secondary data analysis was conducted using data from a 2-part web-based survey called, “Promoting Healthy, Happy, UT Graduates: Combating Stress and the Freshman 15”. This survey was given at three different time frames, before the start of the fall 2006 college semester (Wave 1), at the end of the fall 2006 semester (Wave 2), and at the end of the spring 2007 semester (Wave 3). For the purposes of this project, only Wave 1 (N=1,293) and Wave 3 (N=770) were utilized for data analysis. A crosssectional study was conducted with Wave 1 and Wave 3; then a longitudinal analysis was done on the 439 participants who answered both surveys (overlapped).

The results showed, exiting freshmen slept approximately 1.1 hours less per night than incoming freshmen (p<0.05). Incoming freshmen reported sleeping 7.9 hours per night, but actually received 8.7 hours. Exiting freshmen reported sleeping 6.8 hours per night, but actually received 7.6 hours. Sixty-nine point seven percent of incoming freshmen consumed some form of caffeine daily compared to 66.2% of exiting freshmen whom consumed some form of caffeine daily. A small association was found between caffeine intake and sleep patterns. Emerging adults who consumed 4 or more caffeinated beverages per day or an estimated 300 mg of caffeine or more were more likely to go to bed at 2 am or later and sleep less during the night.

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Nutrition Commons