Waking up before the sun rises can be tough on anyone, but often the hardest part is having to be a functional person throughout a 7-hour school day. Luckily, students and teachers have a variety of ways to keep energy levels up throughout the day.
Many CHS students and faculty practice meditation and yoga, exercise and drink liquids to help the awakening process. Social studies teacher Cara Gadel meditates for 30 to 60 minutes each morning before school and for an hour after school.
“I started doing it regularly when I came to CHS,” Gadel said. “I have meditated every day for the past six years. It helps me keep a balanced state of mind and process day-to-day occurrences. I can’t really describe how it makes me feel, but I know when I don’t meditate in the morning, that day is going to be filled with more obstacles than other days.”
Similar to meditating, freshman Elina Kapoor does yoga before school or at night.
“The breathing techniques and various moves and stretches help me clear my mind and make me feel much more energetic,” Kapoor said.
English teacher Haroot Hakopian gets a morning boost by exercising instead of drinking coffee.
“The more you exercise, the more energy you have,” Hakopian said. “I exercise before school, and when I first get up, I am not at full energy. However, by the time I am done, I am ready for school. I drink coffee for the sweet taste, not for the caffeine. I always buy decaf.”
Some teachers also drink coffee daily to get their morning energy boost. Anatomy and Physiology teacher James Fishman drinks a cup of half decaf and half caffeinated coffee each day.
“I used to drink regular coffee, but then I would get jittery from it,” Fishman said. “I switched to decaf, but then my twins were born, and I needed the caffeine.”
Many students also look to beverages to keep up their daily energy levels. According to a CHS survey of 50 students, 56 percent drink coffee or tea every morning before school. As listed on the survey, common reasons for this were taste and routine, but drinking coffee can develop into a habit.
According to Debbie Amster, a local Holistic Health Counselor, coffee is addictive and people can get physical reactions like headaches and nausea when they break their routines.
“We need sleep,” Amster said. “Sleep is one of the ways we nourish our bodies. People are using coffee and sugary food as a substitute for sleep. This is one of the reasons why we have an obesity problem.”
Coffee and other energy drinks can also have some other harmful side effects. According to dentist Gary Greenbaum adding cream and sugar to coffee is the same as killing teeth, while soda also has some unpleasant effects.
“Every time you take a sip of Coca- Cola, you get a 20-minute acid attack on your teeth,” Greenbaum said. “Studies have shown root beer does not have the same bad effect as other sodas like Coke or Mountain Dew. It is not good for your teeth, but it might not be as bad as other sodas.”
Tea is another popular option for students and faculty and maybe a healthier one. According to Amster, there are great advantages to drinking tea.
“Tea has health and nutritional value,” Amster said. “Green tea in particular is high in antioxidants which help deal with free radicals. Herbal teas have all kinds of medicinal benefits. Peppermint tea and ginger tea are good for the digestive system. Chamomile tea helps to calm the body.”
Several students said that their mothers made tea for them daily. According to Kapoor, her mother makes her a cup of traditional Indian chai every morning.
“The tea gives me a boost of energy along with a calming effect that helps me wake up in time for school,” Kapoor said. “I grew up with tea. She has made it for me for as long as I can remember.”
Family tradition is also the reason junior Yana Kost drinks tea.
“It is a Russian tradition to drink tea all of the time,” Kost said. “I have been drinking tea all my life. We typically drink a regular black tea that we buy at Yekta in Rockville.”
While many students and faculty members rely on these methods, others don’t have to. When asked if he drank or did anything in particular to get a morning energy boost, freshman Kyle Pansi just laughed.
“I am a freshman,” Pansi said. “Freshmen don’t need energy drinks. It’s seven in the morning and I have enough energy to run marathon in a herd of wild gazelle.”