Energy drinks are often marketed as 'masculine' drinks. They have grown in popularity for several Americans, but there is growing concern about the health risks of consuming them in large quantities. A team of researchers has discovered a link between masculinity, energy drink use and sleep problems.
Men are the main consumers of energy drinks. Commercials and advertisements often show men engaging in high-risk, adrenaline-pumping activities such as skydiving or snowboarding. Therefore, researchers at the University of Akron set out to study a possible link between masculinity, expectations about the benefits of consuming energy drinks, how those expectations affect energy drink use and the impact on sleep.
‘Men are the main consumers of energy drinks. Many of these drinks have high caffeine content. When consumed in excess, caffeine can accelerate the heart rate, increase anxiety, and contribute to insomnia.’
Team leader Ronald F. Levant said, "While most men who buy energy drinks aren't martial arts champions or race car drivers, these marketing campaigns can make some men feel as though drinking energy drinks is a way to feel closer to, or associated with, these ultra-masculine sports. We found associations between beliefs in traditional masculinity, beliefs in the efficacy of energy drinks, energy drink consumption, and sleep disturbances with a few notable exceptions."
Levant further added, "Older men were, more or less, exempt from the trend, and non-white men who endorsed traditional masculinity believed in the efficacy of energy drinks, but this belief didn't translate into actual use. However, for young white men in the sample, the associations were clear. Many energy drinks have high caffeine content; when consumed in excess, caffeine can accelerate the heart rate, increase anxiety, and contribute to insomnia."
The study appears in Health Psychology.