What happens if I stop drinking caffeine for a month

i love coffee Maybe too much. I used to drink up to four cups of Nespresso in the morning – the darkest roast I could find. I was looking forward to my first cup, and by the third I knew I shouldn’t go into the kitchen to make the fourth, but I don’t always use my better judgment.

And I pay the price. I usually start to feel jittery and if I don’t eat breakfast my stomach can get upset. It turns out that each of these capsules contains up to 100 milligrams of caffeine. That can add up quickly.

When my former colleague, author Jeff Pearlman, tweeted that he had given up caffeine in August, I wondered if I should do the same.

As a heavy coffee drinker, he hated how it made him feel. “I like the initial excitement,” he told me. “But then I would drink and drink and drink, and by 3pm I would need a nap. My hands were shaking and my mind was racing. I work a lot in cafes, so it came with the precinct. But after a while I had to move.”

Pearlman switched to decaffeinated coffee and said it’s shockingly easy to give up caffeine. “I didn’t miss it much,” he says, adding that he’s not 100% done yet. “Sometimes if there’s a flavored caffeinated coffee I like I’ll go with 70% decaffeinated, 30% flavored coffee. Just for taste, texture. But overall it was easy. No headaches, no urging.”

After thinking about it for a few months, I decided to give it a try.

What happened when I stopped

As with Pearlman, it was easier than I thought. I love the taste of coffee and drink mine black. Switching to decaffeinated capsules did the trick. However, unlike Pearlman, I had side effects. The first day I had a bad headache.

“The very common headache experience is a sign of withdrawal from caffeine addiction,” says Kara Fitzgerald, author of Younger You: Reduce your biological age and live longer and better. “It’s temporary but can be really hard to plow through and keeps a lot of us looking for a caffeine fix to avoid withdrawal.”

Also, I felt tired all day for the first two weeks. That’s because skipping caffeine can make you sluggish at first and decrease your energy and ability to focus, says Hayley Miller, a registered dietitian at Persona, a personalized vitamins and supplements company. “The good news is that this will only be short-lived, thanks to the amazing adaptability of the human body. You can expect to regain your mental clarity and focus within a few weeks of quitting.”

It took some time but my focus eventually evened out and seemed to be more constant throughout the day rather than peaking in the morning and waning in the afternoon. I slept better too. I only had caffeine in the morning and the fact that it could affect my sleep surprised me.

“You’ve found by far the best benefits of going decaffeinated,” says Fitzgerald. “Given that it’s a powerful stimulant that easily enters the brain and blocks adenosine receptors, the most important benefit of stopping is improved sleep.”

According to Fitzgerald, caffeine has an average half-life of five hours. “It takes longer for some of us who have slower biotransformation enzymes,” she explains. “This means it can take over 10 hours to completely clear caffeine from the body. It is not surprising that it affects sleep. Those of us who are slow metabolizers may have additional problems, including higher blood sugar and blood pressure, altered tolerance to exercise, and an increased risk of nonfatal heart attacks.” (She says direct genetic testing like 23andMe might be able to tell you whether or not you metabolize caffeine rapidly.)

There’s another benefit to quitting coffee: “Since caffeine is a diuretic — meaning it speeds up urine production — you’ll find that making this change will shorten your trips to the toilet,” says Miller. “Better yet, going decaffeinated could actually improve your diet by helping your body absorb B vitamins and other key nutrients. In other words, if you give up coffee, you can get more out of your food.”

But caffeine has benefits

While Fitzgerald says the evidence is still being scientifically worked out, caffeine could be a longevity supplement. “It seems to be in fruit flies, mice and worms,” ​​she says. “Human studies are lacking. It is also believed to be neuroprotective in humans when taken in moderation. [meaning it] protects against age-related diseases such as dementia or Parkinson’s disease.”

If you look beyond caffeine to the carrier that contains the caffeine, such as B. coffee or tea, you’ll find that both beverages are hailed for containing phytochemicals that are also beneficial.

“If we look at human studies of coffee drinkers, we see that they tend to live longer – caffeinated coffee or not,” says Fitzgerald. “Personally, I love my daily morning coffee ritual and appreciate these beneficial phytochemicals. I don’t have it past the morning hour unless it’s the occasional decaffeinated coffee that allows me to get a good night’s sleep.”

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

It’s been a month since my experiment and to be honest I’m not sure I’ll be going back. I love the quality of sleep I have now, but I miss the little boost of energy that caffeine gave me. I might try a cup or mix of regular and decaf occasionally to see what happens.

Miller says the decision to go decaf should be based on your lifestyle and reasons for using it. “If you drink coffee for the taste or because you love a latte at the local coffee shop, then there probably isn’t a need to stop,” she says. “If you rely on caffeine to fuel your day, other things may be at play: the quality of your sleep, your stress levels, or your diet may affect your ability to stay awake and focused. It’s better to manage your energy through lifestyle choices than leaning on the cup of joe.” What happens if I stop drinking caffeine for a month


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