Sophomore Henry Eising stays caf­feinated during a study session. Tim Run­stadler | Courtesy.

It’s 1:30 a.m. You’re drowning in pages-long finals reviews. You promised you wouldn’t drink any more coffee, but your bio­chem­istry midterm is tomorrow, and your eyes glaze over every time you look at the page. You reach over and press the brew button on your coffee maker.

The U.S. Army and Department of Defense have developed an algo­rithm, the Wall Street Journal reported last month, which cal­cu­lates the amount of caf­feine a person would need to have the same level of alertness as if he had slept more than seven hours, the minimum number gen­erally con­sidered to be a healthy amount. The algo­rithm pre­scribes 200 mil­ligrams of caf­feine when one wakes up, fol­lowed by another 200 mil­ligrams after four hours. For someone who plans to go several days without sleep, the guide­lines suggest con­suming 200 mil­ligrams at mid­night, 4 a.m., and 8 a.m.

At Hillsdale College, stu­dents are not immune to the caf­feine trends. Stu­dents and faculty may use coffee solely for the caf­feine boost, for taste, or both.

Junior Tim Run­stadler Jr. began drinking coffee when he was in middle school, at a Boy Scout camp. Since then, he has been a faithful coffee drinker, but pri­marily for the taste. Holding a mug with six shots of espresso, Run­stadler tried to recall the last day he hadn’t drunk coffee.

“I can’t remember a day I haven’t drank coffee in a very long time,” Run­stadler said. “It sounds like a very crappy day.”

When asked about the algo­rithm, Run­stadler, a potential can­didate for the Marine program on campus, said, “it seems healthier to eat more and get energy from that.”

Sophomore Rebecca Joyce started drinking caf­feine in Pepsi at age 2, due to an unde­veloped central nervous system which created a sort of wired effect whenever she had a temper tantrum or burst of emotion, normal at that age. Since then, she has needed to take caf­feine in large amounts to remain calm.

“I am known to drink four shots of espresso,” Joyce said. “But we’ve all been there thinking that taking that shot of caf­feine will help you write that paper when it actually just sets your heart racing.”

Sophomore Kirby Thigpen said that the idea of cre­ating an algo­rithm is “not a long-term solution for getting little sleep for sol­diers.”

She doesn’t expe­rience the same pos­itive effects when drinking coffee on only a few hours of sleep.

“When I have less sleep and drink coffee, at first I feel OK but I do start to get really jittery and shaky after a while, and then I can’t get any­thing done,” she said. “Whenever I have more sleep, I tend to get more done when I drink coffee.”

The Army is not the only one to take advantage of the util­i­tarian aspect of caf­feine.

Pro­fessor of English Justin Jackson con­siders himself to be more of a “coffee as fuel guy than coffee as taste guy.” If he had to estimate how much he drinks on a daily basis, he would say around 500 to 700 mg of caf­feine.

This may be why he takes a caf­feine-fueled nap every so often to boost his energy on days he finds it takes three to four times longer than usual to read some­thing.

According to studies con­ducted by researchers at Lough­borough Uni­versity in the UK and in Japan, taking a cup of coffee and then a 20-minute nap directly after can be much more effective than just taking a nap or drinking coffee. After taking the cup of coffee, sleeping for 20 minutes allows the brain to clear itself of adenosine and also allows the caf­feine to take its full effect.

Jackson highly rec­om­mends this practice to his stu­dents, espe­cially those who take his afternoon classes, since drowsiness seems to set in after lunchtime.

“If stu­dents are feeling tired after lunch, why are you poring over a passage for an hour, not getting it, when you could just refresh your brain in 20 minutes and then you’ll get through that passage in 20 minutes?” Jackson said.

Jackson nor­mally drinks a cup of coffee in the early afternoon, around 1 p.m.

“It seems to me you have three options: one, drink coffee, it will help you become alert. Two, go take a nap, it will reset your brain. Three, go drink coffee and take a nap,” Jackson said. “I prefer the third.”

Assistant Pro­fessor of Pol­itics Adam Car­rington started drinking coffee just a month ago, due to the arrival of his new infant daughter.

“I had a pretty good run. I got through undergrad, graduate school, and my first four years here, and then my daughter hap­pened,” Car­rington said. “Since she likes to get up at 5 a.m., she’s the biggest reason. I’m a slave to her and so now I’m a slave to coffee. They are twin masters.”

But Car­rington felt that caf­feine should be used spar­ingly and only under special cir­cum­stances.

“It can be a way of bridging through dif­ficult times like Hell Week, finals week, midterms. It can be a little bit of a boost here and there,” Car­rington said. “But if it’s running your life, espe­cially at 18 to 20, that’s a problem, and I would say from our end, as faculty and staff, we should be encour­aging you all to take care of your­selves.”

However, pulling all-nighters and prac­ti­cally living on coffee pre­vents stu­dents from fully par­tic­i­pating in what Hillsdale aims to do, according to Car­rington.

“If you end up doing that all the time, I think it’s going to hurt your health,” said Car­rington. “In the end it’s going to hurt your edu­cation and what we are trying to do here. We want you all to be healthy, knowl­edgeable, good, func­tioning cit­izens and human beings. If you have to be hooked up to an IV, how healthy are you being?”

Pro­fessor of biology Silas Johnson noted the military’s history of exper­i­menting with sub­stances, including amphet­a­mines. Johnson said most drug use, including caf­feine, is not nec­essary for normal adults.

“I think for most normal healthy adults it’s not a necessity to consume any stim­u­lants or depressant com­pounds,” Johnson said. “But it is very human to do so.”