I’ve given up on caffeine almost entirely. Why? My sleep was lousy – not deep enough for me to feel rejuvenated in the morning. When I don’t sleep well, my mood goes downhill, heading towards depression and easy frustration with the world around me. When I get to that point, the cumulative effect on my mental health is bad. I start thinking…oddly. Even though I know my thinking is irrational, I find there’s little I can do about it but get properly rested.
Now that I’ve quit beverages that are highly dosed with caffeine, here’s a few observations.
- I couldn’t do it cold turkey. The headaches were intolerable. So instead, I stepped the daily dose down over the course of two weeks so that the discomfort of the caffeine withdrawal headaches was manageable.
- My heartrate isn’t as elevated when I work out. I think I’ve gotten back 15 bpm, although I’m not 100% certain my change in caffeine consumption is the entire explanation. This morning, a workout that normally pushes me to around 160bpm at peak didn’t push me more than about 145bpm. I don’t think that’s because I’m just rockin’ my cardio health that hard, so I’m blaming the chemicals.
- Sleep is definitely deeper. I fall asleep more easily. I don’t wake up as often or as easily during the night, and when I’m awakened in the morning by my alarm, I feel *awake*. Although I still can’t pop off my pillow like my spouse manages to, once I get going, I feel pretty good without a java-based jump-start.
- Living entirely caffeine-free in this world would be difficult. Lots of beverages have caffeine in them, naturally occurring or otherwise – tea most notably. Colas are caffeinated as well. Therefore, you have to pay attention to what you’re consuming. I’m not *that* picky, but if a completely caffeine-free life is important to you, don’t overlook the fact that coffee isn’t the only thing in the world with stimulants built-in.