Reasons To Give Up Caffeine: My Week Without Tea or CoffeeBy Adam Sinicki
Allot of people/wesbsites have advised that I give up caffeine. 'Why?' I ask them. 'Because it's good for your health.' they answer. 'How is it?' I ask intrigued. 'Because of... the health...' they mumble.
Thing was, despite allot of people knowing it's good for your health, few people seemed to really know exactly what the advantages are. Search on Google 'giving up caffeine' and you'll get hundreds of relevant links. Search 'reasons to give up caffeine' however and you find far fewer results show up. I decided that there was only one way to find out exactly what the effects were - try it myself.
So here it is - my diary from my week without any caffeine. Just to put this experiment into perspective you should know that I was really hooked on it up until this point. I mean I would drink about four cups of coffee at work, then five or six cups of tea when I got home. That's one big caffeine injection. This challenge certainly wasn't easy.
It's day one of my week without caffeine and I already want to die. It started badly when I arrived at work and a colleague had already made me a coffee. I had to actually poor it away, which was painful but also like a symbolic commital to my fast. People didn't like it either. I'm known as one of the guys who always has a hot drink. When I refuse they just look at me like 'you've changed...' Drinking tea and coffee is a social thing aswell, you don't notice that until it's gone. By 12 I already had a headache, which is terrible. Normally I'd be on my 3rd drink by then. I was all stressed out too about my MOT which was booked for 5pm. I'd have given anything for some caffeine... injected straight into my eyeballs preferably. So at lunch I decided to buy some decaff coffee. It's better than nothing as I enjoy just the calming effect of any hot beverage, but it still tastes like dirt in mug of water. Mmmm dirt... It's like a mockery - sacrilege - against real coffee. And it's expensive.
I prefer tea anyway, and I don't think you can get de-caf tea can you? And green tea is just like putting a leaf in your drink - pointless.
No Caffeine Day 2
So today was the second day of my caffeine fasting and it's again been a struggle. I did find it marginally easier to get out of bed this morning but that could just be down to the fact that I went to sleep an hour earlier - because of the headache I was suffering due to lack of caffeine!
It reached its worst point at work when at 12 it became almost unbearable (not helped by Rachel taunting me). At lunch time I just ambled around then sat on a step with my head in my hands like a tramp. I wanted to cry... Fortunately for some reason it actually improved by about 2 but then my day just got really weird and stressful and tested my vigil to the full. All I wanted was to go home and sleep, maybe vomit a bit, but sadly that was not to be as I ended up at some horrible weird gypsie party that was going on next door. Alcohol actually helped however as did the fear which took my mind of my caffeine problems. When I got back though I was full of nerves (I'd snuck out and was hoping they weren't going to come looking for me) and found I have never wanted a mug more. I held out though.
No caffeine day 3:
Or middle actually. It's more the middle of the tunnel seeing as it's only the third day. It's light though as I haven't had a headache today, and have actually been feeling quite healthy. Except randomly I've been feeling crippling pain in my bad wrist/hand (and also my back actually), but I don't think those are related.
Part of the solution I found was milkshake. I've always loved milkshake, and its actually even more soothing than tea during my Adam time. The other thing that helped was to look at it as a challenge. Even if I'm not sure about the reasons I'm doing this, it's still an opportunity to test my will. My iron will. Just like the gym. I've made it through the rain - just like Barry Manilow.
I'm still planning on going back to drinking tea and coffee after the experiment but maybe I'll drink a bit less if it means I'll always have this extra energy.
No Caffeine Day 6:
Day six of my no-caffeine challenge and I actually feel pretty good for it. I feel loathe to admit it, but I seem to have more energy and my body clock is now almost like that of a normal human. I'm pretty sure I sleep better (and I've been having some bizarre dreams - Saturday night I joined the 'Labrador resistance movement' (I was the only non-dog member)) and I feel more awake as a result. I feel less of a jittery wreck and have been relaxing more too.
Saying that I did still lie-in until 2pm on Sunday, but Si had been round the night before and didn't leave until 4am which is late even for me. Without my usual caffeine boost I was nearly comatose by the time he left.
I've possibly been less productive overall, but that's a good thing in a way as I was beginning to tire myself out. Infact I'm so pleased with the results that I'm strongly considering staying this way and being a permanently decaf guy.
Although this was meant to be just one week it actually seems to have become nearly two without and with no clear end in sight. I've finished the test now so I can drink as much as I want but I've found I quite like feeling a bit more fresh and a bit less jittery. You know how you drink alcohol to loosen up and be more sociable? Well if you're really hooked on coffee I find it's kind of the opposite of that... I'm a lot more relaxed now and my body clock is no longer that of an owl.
Well it's now day 15 and I'm still going strong having had only one weak mug of tea when I had a particularly bad headache (I don't really count chocolate as the amount is so small). The way caffeine works is by blocking receptors in your brain that normally tell you you're tired. In other words you're still tired, but your brain thinks you're not. This obviously isn't particularly good - our body gives us cues for a reason and ignoring them will only worsen the problem. I'm still going to have a mug of tea every now and then because I love it. But I'm not longer going to be hitting myself with 4-5 coffees at work and tea will now be just a special treat.
So here are the reasons that I found first hand to give up caffeine. If they seem appealing to you maybe try giving it a go:
Additionally if you're one of the unfortunate people who have high sensitivity to caffeine it could even cause heart palpatations, panik attacks and insomnia. Not cool.