Coffee may have a lot of wonderful health benefits to offer adults, but adolescent kids are another matter altogether. According to a new study featured on Science Daily, children who regularly consume caffeinated drinks may suffer from poor sleep and delayed brain development.

Researchers from the University Children's Hospital Zurich fed 30-day old laboratory mice moderate amounts of caffeine for five days to see how the substance would affect brain development.

Based on the subjects’ brain currents, deep sleep was reduced long after the trial period, which resulted in slower brain development. Caffeine also seemed to affect behavior, as the mice that consumed more caffeine were more timid and lethargic as compared with those who had no caffeine and had enough sleep.

Kids, however, may not be that much different. "The brain of children is extremely plastic due to the many connections. [It's] optimisation presumably occurs during sleep. Key synapses extend, others are reduced; this makes the network more efficient and the brain more powerful," lead researcher Reto Huber explains.

Without proper sleep, the brain does not get enough time to process and mature. Researchers recommend kids to abstain from drinking caffeinated drinks as much as they can. After all, they can still enjoy the brew a few years down the line, once their mental development stabilizes.

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(Photo by Simon Q via Flickr Creative Commons)

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