Why in the world would I ever want to quit coffee? That is my life blood. I can’t survive without it. I can’t function in the morning without it. Is this your reaction? Find out why you don’t really need that caffeine kick.
Every morning your body gives you a shot of your own brewed version of cortisol. This is what awakens you from your slumber. You are probably in the routine of having that morning coffee to jumpstart your day and lets be honest nothing smells better in the morning than fresh brewed coffee. I meant the best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup. Right?
What if I told you that caffeine is not doing what you think it is doing. It is more of a coincidence that your morning coffee is what is waking you up. At about the same time that caffeine is hitting your bloodstream your cortisol levels are also increasing naturally as part of your circadian rhythm. It is more the cortisol that is making you feel awake than the caffeine. Caffeine works by blocking adenosine receptors. Adenosine is a metabolic product that accumulates as you are awake. As more adenosine finds a receptor the more tired you feel. So you can quit your morning regular coffee habit because it is not doing what you think it is doing and switch to decaf.
Caffeine is also a stimulant and has a half life of at least 5 hours depending on how the body metabolizes it. When someone is looking to improve their sleep or has trouble looking at sleep we take a look at their coffee or caffeine consumption. A man or woman that is consuming large amounts of caffeine during the day will still have a considerable amount in his/her system when they try to go to bed at night. This will impair them from being able to fall asleep and/or keeping them from getting the restorative deep REM sleep the body needs instead only getting light sleep.
When trying to quit coffee, it is smart to wean down the amounts. Going from 6-8 cups a day to none is going to cause some big withdrawal effects and probably make it harder to give up. I instruct my clients to have decaf and regular and keep reducing the ratios of regular to decaf coffee. So that would look like 75:25, then 50:50, then 25:75, and finally just decaf.
Once the body is cleared of all the caffeine the benefits start to come through. First and foremost your sleep is going to improve. Caffeine is a stimulant which also raises your cortisol levels. Increased cortisol levels impairs your ability to fall asleep because the body is unable to release melatonin at night because the cortisol is blocking it. Also if your adenosine sites are blocked you will not feel tired, but wired.
You will get deeper more refreshing sleep to as the brain will not be under the influence of caffeine. Now that you are getting better sleep, you will be waking up with more energy, clearer thinking, and no jitters. You do also need to prioritize sleep. Quitting coffee and expecting your 4 hours of better sleep to make up for it is just not gonna happen.
I tell my clients to use coffee or caffeine as a superpower. If you use it all the time the body gets used to it and the effects are minimal. It is more just psychological than physiological. When you only consume caffeine occasionally you get the full effect of sharper thinking, more focus, and better reaction time. Save caffeine when you got a presentation, or need to do some brainstorming. You will be a level up from your fellow office mates.
I like the taste and ritual of coffee in the morning. All I did was switch over to decaf. I still get the taste, smell, and habit of drinking coffee without the caffeine impacting my body.
If you feel like you are really struggling at work get outside for a 5-10 minutes for some natural light. This will have a bigger effect than a cup of coffee. Some kind of movement also helps to energize yourself. If you really think about it you are sitting indoors all day in what equates to dim artificial light and not moving much. That tells the body lets power down and sleep. Take control of your environment and you will see some positive results.
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