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How To Give Up Coffee

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How to Give Up Coffee

From counteracting feelings of stress and normalizing sleep patterns to improving your mood, working out in the morning releases endorphins that make you feel energized and starts the day on a positive, healthy note.

Put It into Practice: Keep yourself accountable by signing up for a class or working out with a friend.

What I Learned The First Week Of Giving Up Coffee

During the first week without coffee, I realized a few things. My sleep was instantly better. When I was drinking coffee, sometimes my last cup would be around 4 or 5 pm, when I needed an extra boost of energy to meet a friend for dinner or whatever my plans were. After four days of being coffee-free, I slept through the night perfectly and had deeper sleep. This was really important for me because I’m one of those people that needs a full 8 hours of sleep to function properly the next day. And because of my better sleep, I was more productive all day. I started my days earlier and I can stay up at least three hours later than I could before. My friends used to call me the grandmother of the group when my first yawn happened at 8 pm and I would wrap up the night before 9 pm. Now, I feel great whether I go to bed at ten, eleven, or even midnight which used to be a rarity.

The same week I gave up coffee, I saved some money. I’m also not part of the coffee culture anymore so anytime a friend asks to meet at the local coffee shop in town, I say, “Let’s go for a walk on the beach instead,” or “Come over and let’s sit outside,” which in my opinion is a lot more personal than surface coffeeshop conversations. I realized I saved about $25/week by not drinking overpriced coffee. Now this will be different for everyone depending on the price of coffee near you. When I lived in NYC, I used to get mine from the street cart for $1.50!

It Was Easier To Fall Asleep Earlier At Night But I Didn’t Feel More Rested Until I Got Over The Caffeine Withdrawal

As a result of my general lethargy, I certainly noticed that my bedtimes in the first couple days without coffee were considerably earlier. Without the familiar kick from caffeine to keep me moving through the rest of the day, I found that I was able to quickly shut myself down as the day drew to a close.

That being said, despite my earlier bedtime, I did not wake up feeling more rested in the first few days of my experiment. This is likely due to my sustained symptoms of withdrawal mentioned above.

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Fewer Trips To The Bathroom

Caffeinated beverages cause us to urinate more often and in some people can even cause incontinence.

Caffeine also stimulates the smooth muscle tissue of the colon, which causes it to contract.

This can be challenging during meetings, road trips, or when bathrooms arent convenient.

Quitting can reduce the need to use the bathroom as often, especially in the mornings.

Your Caffeine Addiction Is Probably Affecting You Way More Than You Realize Argues Michael Pollan In His New Book

How to Give Up Coffee in 10 Simple Steps

Like many Americans, I used to be an avid coffee drinker, both thoroughly addicted to the kick I got from my first cup of the morning and in love with the whole sensory experience of brewing and sipping it. To get me to quit caffeine, I thought you’d basically have to pry the mug from my cold, dead hands.

Then I had my daughter. An abominable sleeper, she reduced me to a quivering zombie with sleep deprivation within a matter of weeks. As she was breastfed, in my desperation I thought giving up caffeine might help stretch out her hilariously brief periods of sleep, so I did the unthinkable: I gave up caffeine.

Lucky for me, I was so exhausted already that I didn’t notice any symptoms of withdrawal like headaches and tiredness. I just continued to stumble around in a mental haze, but a week or so into my experiment a strange thing happened. My baby still would not sleep for more than an hour or two at a time, but I felt markedly better–less fuzzy and miserable when I woke, just as tired all day but less irritable. To my complete shock I found I never had the urge to get back together with my old beloved: caffeine. To this day, six years on, I stick to the occasional cup of decaf.

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The Initial Energy Slump Was A Struggle But It Didn’t Last Long

As expected, the most noticeable difference in my first day without coffee came in the form of a pronounced energy lag. While I donât typically start my day with immediate coffee, it is always in the rotation within the first few hours after waking up.

Without the caffeine, I felt more lethargic and mentally foggier for a little less than a week. I generally depend on coffee to give me a boost of mid-morning energy, so going without made for a laggier, lazier first few days as my body adjusted. This, explains registered dietitian Samantha Cassetty, MS, RD, is one of the most typical withdrawal symptoms that folks experience when easing off caffeine.

âCaffeine is a stimulant. When you’re used to having some caffeine in your system, the effects aren’t as noticeable because you develop a tolerance to it,â Cassetty explains. âHowever, when you don’t consume caffeine, your body needs to adjust to not having itâthis is what invites the withdrawal symptoms.â Other common symptoms aside from low energy and fatigue include irritability, poor concentration, and even feeling slightly depressed.

Generally speaking, Cassetty says that a headache will peak in the first 12 to 24 hours of caffeine stoppage, and symptoms are worse in the first couple days before abating.

As I Got Over The Hump I Started To Drink A Lot More Water

While the struggle was real for the first couple days without coffee, by day four, I found something of a newfound freedom without my daily caffeine fix. I used to anticipate a mid-morning lull that needed to be addressed with coffee consumption, but I no longer had this pronounced energy slumpâand as such, I found myself craving coffee less.

Moreover, I discovered that as a natural replacement, I began to drink more water. Sure, my initial hydration attempts were likely me subconsciously grasping for a substitute for my coffee habit…but I quickly found that drinking a few cups of water left me feeling refreshed in a way that coffee generally did not. It’s also likely that in my former caffeine-reliant life, I was “using” coffee as a water replacement without the compulsory mid-morning latte, I reached for still or sparkling water, and my body was grateful.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Caffeine Withdrawal

If you have developed a dependence on caffeine, an abrupt cutback can cause withdrawal symptoms that may include:

  • Headaches.
  • Muscle pain.
  • Irritability.

In general, the more caffeine you are used to consuming, the more severe the withdrawal symptoms are likely to be. Symptoms of withdrawal begin 12 to 24 hours after the last caffeine intake and can last two to nine days.

Caffeine can be a useful tool for an adult who needs help waking up and concentrating. But, it can also cause problems if youre not careful with it. Dont use caffeine too much or you could become dependent or have insomnia or headaches. Otherwise, enjoy that coffee or chocolate!

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/23/2020.

References

How Long Will It Take To Get Off Coffee Completely

Giving Up Coffee for 3 Weeks – How It Changed My Life

The half-life of caffeine is about five hours, so within a day of quitting, your body should be free of it. However, withdrawal symptoms can last significantly longera week to ten days or more, though some lucky people dont experience any noticeable withdrawal.

Beyond the chemical dependency, there is also a behavioral component to coffee. For most coffee drinkers, it is a habit, and habits are harder to break. You might find yourself headed to the coffee pot in the morning, or reaching for the mug thats usually on your desk, well after the initial weaning period.

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I Missed My Morning Routine

At the end of the day, I really missed coffee. Drinking coffee has always been a central part of my morning routine because I love to sip on it while I write, meditate, or read in the morning before starting work. I tried different types of tea, as well as some coffee alternatives, but nothing brought me that joyful little feeling in the AM. Because coffee has been such a foundational part of my mornings, I wound up truly missing the flavor and comfort of my morning cup.

It’s hard to deny just how good and full of energy I felt without drinking coffee. But at the end of the day, I think coffee will always be a part of my life. However, this experience showed me that it may be helpful for me to take more breaks from drinking it and allow my body to adjust without it more often so I can lessen my dependence on it.

Caffeine Detox: How To Quit Caffeine And Break The Addiction

A caffeine detox may be needed for many reasons and some of those could include:

  • Caffeine may no longer have the same effects it once had.
  • Daily caffeine consumption amounts are out of control.
  • Caffeine consumption is leading to health problems.
  • Doctors orders.
  • Whichever the reason, quitting caffeine isnt easy since most people develop a strong dependence on the daily dose both physically and mentally.

    Most people experience some form of withdrawal symptoms when reducing caffeine. However these can be minimized using a carefully tapered dose.

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    How Long Does Caffeine Last In The Human Body

    The effects of caffeine can be felt as soon as 15 minutes after it is consumed. The level of caffeine in your blood peaks about one hour later and stays at this level for several hours for most people. Six hours after caffeine is consumed, half of it is still in your body. It can take up to 10 hours to completely clear caffeine from your bloodstream.

    Find A Productive Substitute

    Giving Up Caffeine? Here

    Diet Coke need not apply. But finding something that will make you feel less deprived as you give up caffeine will help make the transition easier and increase your odds that the habit sticks.

    If you enjoy the warmth of your coffee in the morning, consider alternative options to give you that warm, fuzzy feeling: herbal tea, a hot shower, cranking up the heater in the car, soft cozy socks, suggests Cichy. Ditto for a soda addiction: Try swapping the bubbles of your post-work Cola with carbonated water, dotting essential oils on your wrist, or even taking a bubble bath. For those mainly craving the stimulant effects, try other activities to spike your energy like taking a quick walk, playing with a pet, or doing a brief yoga video on YouTube .

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    This Is Your Brain And Your Sleep On Caffeine

    Without newborn fogginess to numb him, Pollan finds the whole experience of quitting coffee deeply unpleasant.

    “At the coffee shop, instead of my usual ‘half caff,’ I ordered a cup of mint tea. And on this morning, that lovely dispersal of the mental fog that the first hit of caffeine ushers into consciousness never arrived,” he recalls. “The fog settled over me and would not budge. It’s not that I felt terrible–I never got a serious headache–but all day long I felt a certain muzziness, as if a veil had descended in the space between me and reality, a kind of filter that absorbed certain wavelengths of light and sound.”

    The veil lingered for days, but Pollan soldiered on, struggling to wake up in the morning and focus on his work. Eventually he was able to concentrate again but even after weeks had passed, “the world seemed duller to me. I seemed duller,” he observes.

    Which doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement for skipping your morning brew. Why then is it worth considering giving up caffeine? If the pleasures of caffeine are real, so are its downsides. Pollan speaks to sleep researcher and author Matthew Walker who explains that even small amounts of caffeine interfere with reaching restorative “deep sleep” states.

    But Caffeine Does Have Benefits

    While Fitzgerald says the evidence is still being scientifically teased out, caffeine might be a longevity agent. It looks to be in fruit flies, mice, and worms, she says. Human studies are lacking. Its also thought to be neuroprotective in moderate intake in humans, is protective against age-related illness like dementia or Parkinsons.

    Looking beyond caffeine to the vehicle that the caffeine is found in, such as coffee or tea, youll find that both drinks are hailed for containing phytochemicals that are also beneficial.

    When we look at human studies of coffee drinkers, we see that they tend to live longercaffeinated coffee or not, says Fitzgerald. I personally love my daily morning coffee ritual and appreciate those beneficial phytochemicals. I dont have it after the morning hour unless its the occasional decaf, which allows me to sleep well at night.

    Caffeine is a natural stimulant, and Miller says its a great way to get a burst of energy in the morning and to fight the midday blues. But too much of anything is never good, she says. You should never drink more than the equivalent to about four cups of coffee a day.

    Its been a month into my experiment, and to be honest, Im not sure if Ill go back. I love the quality of sleep I now have, but I do miss that little burst of energy caffeine gave me. I might try an occasional cup or a mix of regular and decaf to see what happens.

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    Finally I Found Deeper Sleep And Woke Up Feeling Well

    After my first few days of my longer-yet-not-more-restful-sleep stage, my next week of caffeine-free slumber was surprisingly pleasant. Not only did I have an easier time shutting off my brainâand therefore, shutting down my devicesâwithout coffee, but I also woke up feeling markedly better rested. I used to frequently wake up feeling more tired than I was when I went to bed after giving up coffee, I didn’t experience this miserable situation at all. I also woke up fewer times throughout the night.

    How To Give Up Coffee In 10 Simple Steps

    Why I Dont Drink Coffee & How to Give Up Coffee

    When I decided to give up coffee recently, I believe I was able to stop drinking it quite easily because I had the three things from my previous post on how to replace coffee with healthier alternatives in place.

    Firstly, I knew Id been addicted to coffee for many years and admitted that to myself.

    To my mind any addiction is a problem because you dont have control of it it has control of you. Once you understand how caffeine addiction works you can start to do something positive about it.

    Secondly, I had the motivation and momentum for giving up coffee after researching all the ways coffee and the caffeine in it can damage our digestive processes and health in general.

    Finally and fortunately, I already had the red ginseng tinctures that Id recently bought and the magnesium oil I was already using. These are discussed in detail in the post on the best remedies for caffeine withdrawal .

    With those three things in place, I was able to begin to give up coffee that morning with minimal caffeine withdrawal symptoms .

    If you are low-level coffee drinker, say one every second or third day but not every day at the same time, you may be able to replace coffee cold turkey with peppermint tea, teeccino or another coffee alternative you enjoy.

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    Caffeine Withdrawal: What To Expect

    Like any addiction, quitting caffeine can have some unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. These occur as your body adjusts to no longer having caffeine in the bloodstream. Research has shown that when caffeine intake stops, the speed at which blood travels in the brain changes. This can result in headaches, drowsiness, and a significant drop in your alertness. The most immediate effects of quitting caffeine are headaches, often caused by blood flowing more quickly to the brain. Fatigue is also a typical withdrawal symptom, caused by changes in the brains electrical activity.

    Its also been found that a sudden cut to your caffeine intake causes the brain to be flooded with adenosine and dopamine, hormones associated with mood regulation and mental alertness. This can temporarily throw your brains chemistry out of balance.

    The most common symptoms associated with caffeine withdrawal include:

    • Headaches
    • Sluggish bowel movements or constipation
    • Depression
    • Poor concentration or brain fog
    • Sleeplessness or insomnia

    Coffee Is No Longer A Crutch

    Like many others, I relied on coffee to sustain my energy until the late hours. I loved the taste but hated how much I depended on it. Going a day without coffee meant feeling tired and downright grumpy.

    When I gave it up, I ditched my routine of waiting around the kitchen for my fix and went on morning walks to soak up Vitamin D, a natural energy booster.

    My walks induced more creativity in the mornings, a big turnaround from the original groggy mornings. I was no longer waking up with the thought of making coffee my mind was free to think of other things.

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