I started drinking coffee at the age of 15, maybe even earlier. From that point on I drank coffee at least once daily during work days and never really had an issue with it. When I started university I got a job at a coffee shop and my coffee use only escalated from there. Once again I didn’t see an issue with it. I was just a guy who drank a lot of coffee. When my workload increased I drank more coffee at all hours of the day, I only really cared about getting the work done and I assumed coffee and efficiency had a positive correlation.
As my coffee habit continued my tolerance gradually grew to the point where coffee no longer gave me a “kick’ at all. I drank coffee because I always did and I liked the taste. I never really thought about how coffee affected my health.
That brings me to my current work where I have to work upwards of fifty hours a week. I noticed the coffee having a great effect on my health and my productivity. My day would start with a coffee. I literally could not start working without heading to the coffee machine. This reliance would get worse throughout the day. Whenever I felt any sense of fatigue I would go and make a coffee.
A lot of the times I would grab a coffee I likely needed food or water or just a walk to refresh me but the coffee was much more attractive. I would end up having cups of coffee past the hours of 4 pm and often having troubles sleeping.
Caffeine has a half-life of between 5-6 hours for average adults. An eight-ounce cup of coffee can have up to 200 milligrams of caffeine in it meaning that if I have a cup of coffee at 4 pm, then by 10 pm (my usual bedtime) I will still have 100mg of caffeine in my system. This means that my body will be in no shape to settle down never mind sleep.On the other hand, if I had a cup of tea (up to 70mg of caffeine) the effect on my body is significantly less.
Sleep is not the only reason for my abandonment of coffee. I find coffee leaves me sluggish and constantly dependent on it to push through anything. I feel like I can focus for longer periods of time and look to food or water for energy keep my body nourished throughout the day. At the end of the day, I want to feel confident in my abilities and don’t want to leave my abilities in the hands of variables such as caffeine.
This is not the to say the adjustment away from caffeine has been easy, my first couple of days were comprised of headaches and extreme cravings. I was determined to persevere, I had always felt handcuffed by my coffee addition and I really wanted to prove to myself I could kick the habit. I started by eliminating sugar as well as substituting coffee with tea. The sugar in my diet would cause me to crash throughout the day and create a need for coffee.
I felt very sick the first couple of days but those feelings go away. I now feel energized and do not miss the crashes and the need for coffee. I encourage the readers of this article to assess their relationship with coffee and what role it plays in their life. It may actually increase your productivity and overall health.