Service members should be taught that the long-term health-effects of energy drinks are unknown, and that consuming higher amounts of them may affect mission performance and sleep, according to a study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study does not recommend a maximum level of daily energy drink consumption. It says that service members who drank one or two of the beverages each day reported improved cognitive performance and did not have the sleep problems reported by those who consumed three or more energy drinks daily.

The first-of-its kind look at energy drink consumption and its association with sleep problems during combat deployment is based on a 2010 survey of 988 men serving in U.S. Army and Marine platoons in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Walter Reed Army Institute of Research analyzed the data collected by Joint Mental Health Advisory Team 7.

Of the men surveyed, 545 said they consumed no energy drinks, 306 said they had one-to-two energy drinks daily and 137 reported drinking three or more energy drinks daily.

An estimated 6 percent of young adults consume energy drinks every day compared to 45 percent of the service members surveyed.

“This might reflect the unique and extreme demands of a combat deployment and the widespread availabity of energy drinks,” the study authors state in an editorial note.

Read more in tomorrow’s print edition