What Might Happen if You Really Quit Caffeine
For many people even thinking about quitting caffeine is enough to bring on a headache, and it’s pretty hard to imagine getting through the day as a functioning human when you rely on the stuff to even wake up. And yet there are people who claim to feel better than ever when they do wean off the stuff for good. Whether it works for you against you is a personal choice, but here are some things to consider.
The reason why most people don’t just accidentally quit coffee or caffeine is because we’re totally addicted to it. When our body is addicted it goes through withdrawals if we stop. Caffeine withdrawal can include headaches, fatigue, and mood swings, so you might feel pretty crappy at first. Withdrawals can be so bad that you might want to warn your friends and family so they know why you’re weeping face down at the kitchen table.
The symptoms can last over a week, but you can reduce them by weaning yourself off the stuff instead of going cold turkey. Just be sure you’re actually weaning yourself off, and not replacing two cups of weak coffee with cup of a strong brew.
If you take your caffeine in calorie loaded, sugar bomb of a “coffee” drink, then you might actually find that you lose weight when you cut the stuff out. As long as you aren’t replacing it with a different type of sugary drink or just getting a caffeine free version of your regular. On the other hand, some studies have shown that caffeine can boost the metabolism as well as suppress the appetite, and ingesting it before workouts can help to boost your energy causing you to burn more calories while you workout. Keep both of these facts in mind when you’re debating about quitting.
Even if you’re not drinking caffeine right before bed you still might be affecting your sleep schedule. Drinking caffeine even seven hours before bed might be soon enough to leave you tossing and turning. When you quit you might have an easier time falling asleep, and subsequently waking up, and then you won’t feel so groggy and like you need a cup of coffee before you can even speak to anyone.
Caffeine does it’s job of keeping you awake by being a stimulant, but that stimulant nature also raises your blood pressure and can raise your stress levels. If you’re dealing with an ongoing anxiety issue cutting out caffeine might ultimately help. But on the other hand, while coffee raises your blood pressure it also might reduce the risk of developing heart disease by 21 percent.
You probably don’t consider your caffeine fix a health food, but for most Americans coffee is their number one source of antioxidants. Cut it out and you might be missing out, leaving you to seek out antioxidants from other food sources. Antioxidants are crucial for cutting down on inflammation in the body and keeping us functioning well.
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About Kate Ferguson Kate Fergus is a Los Angeles local and freelance writer for a variety of blogs and online magazines. When she's not writing, the UC Davis graduate is focused on pursuits of the entertainment industry, spin class, and hot sauce.