Caffeine is such a massive part of people lives! A lot of people say they can’t seem to function without it… I was one of those people for a long time. Thankfully I started reducing my coffee intake and I’ve never looked back.
What’s funny is I started off not even liking the taste of coffee, but all of my work colleagues needed it to ‘survive’ the day and going to the local coffee shop was part of the morning routine. Slowly but surely they persuaded me to join them and before I knew it I was saying the same thing!
As time progressed, my ‘need’ for coffee got more and more. I was at a point where I was having 3 piccolo’s a day, not realising how badly it was affecting me. I was having various symptoms, however it never crossed my mind that those damn piccolo’s were the cause. The first thing I noticed was the crash. The crash was hard and was always around 4pm. Then came the other side effects. Headaches, tightness in my chest, my body felt exhausted, and the worst part… my mind was going and couldn’t turn off.
All of these things increased at work which is why I brushed them aside thinking “Hey, this is just normal for a stressful job right?”
To be honest I didn’t realise it was the coffee causing all of this until I started dating my boyfriend. He would notice when I had a coffee that day and when I hadn’t, you know why? Snappiness.
I was always portrayed as the person who ‘just gave it as it is’ or ‘very straight to the point’ but now looking back I was actually carrying around such a tight chest to the point where I would snap. Now I think back to my poor family and friends who had to deal with that! I was so unaware who was ‘me’ anymore that it only occurred to me when my boyfriend pointed it out.
It got to a point where my boyfriend was sick of me coming home from work and starting an argument or being so stressed that I couldn’t speak to him or just couldn’t be bothered to do anything after work. He suggested I started reducing my coffee intake. I couldn’t believe how I hadn’t recognised the link between myself behaving this way and me having coffee!
So to test this out I started with a kick-start January resolution. I was going to start reducing my coffee intake for a month and see how I felt. After a week of headaches (I feel my body was quite addicted by this point in my life) I actually started to see benefits.
- Not being so ‘fuzzy’ in the head, feeling a lot clearer when working
- I wasn’t snapping and being irritable at every minor thing
- Not having an afternoon crash, maintaining my energy throughout the day
- Sleeping better which then lead to me waking up not feeling like I needed a coffee first thing
- I wasn’t shaking
You may roll your eyes at this but guess what actually made me feel more energised? Water! Plain and simple water, we don’t realise how good we actually feel when having the right amount of water a day! We need at least 2 litres.
Also what I found interesting is that caffeine stays in your system for 12 hours, so it is recommended to have it early morning so that it doesn’t affect your sleep, but also not having it as soon as you wake up, as your body needs to rehydrate after you sleep.
If you are having coffee the best time is 2 hours after you wake up and 12 hours before you go to sleep. So let’s say around 9am (for those early risers!)
I do know not everyone reacts to coffee the way I do, a lot of people will have the right amount of water and feel fine. However if you do feel you similar experiences to me then test it out and stop drinking it for a week, then see if you feel different (maybe a bit more if you’re only experiencing withdrawal the first week).
What I do is have a decaf coffee, so you’re still having the experience but not having the affects of caffeine! I definitely have gone back to caffeinated coffee at times, but again I just didn’t feel it was giving me any energising benefits anymore.
For the past 6 months I haven’t had a caffeinated coffee, and my behaviour has changed so much. So if you’re feeling like caffeine could be affecting your day to day – try out changing your cup to decaf!
For more information on the benefits of reducing your caffeine intake, see this article by healthline.