It’s coming up to the 1-year anniversary of my last cup of coffee (I never planned it, so I didn’t note the date exactly), so I wanted to share some thoughts about my experience.
Let’s start with background – I’ve been drinking several cups of coffee daily since my teens. Then we got a coffee machine at work. I think 6-10 cups a day would be a reasonable estimate of my intake just over a year ago. I’d never really thought about how much I drank, though a few years ago I started switching to decaf after 6pm, so that I could get to sleep before the new day began.
Then one fateful day, the coffee machine at work ran out of milk. I thought to myself, “let’s see if I can go without coffee for a day”.
That night, around 9.30pm, I was sat in front of the computer when all of a sudden my shoulders locked up and I got a pounding headache. I switched off the PC, curled up in bed and slept like the dead.
Having such a strong reaction really shook me up, and I decided to extend the experiment and see what happened.
For the next two weeks, I was incapable of staying awake past 10pm – I literally crawled into bed and was out like a light. I didn’t feel hugely refreshed, but I was getting more sleep than I’d had in years, and I started feeling better, little by little.
Over the next couple of months, as I slowly adjusted to my new rhythms, I was able to stay up later, but also I was able to wake up earlier without feeling dog-tired.
Now, I can’t lie to you and say I have boundless energy and need to sleep for only 30 minutes a night – I like a lie-in as much as anyone – but I do feel more energetic, and I’m doing a lot more with my time nowadays. I can’t attribute it all to giving up coffee, but it was certainly the catalyst for many other lifestyle changes.
I haven’t cut out caffeine entirely – I’ve grown to really enjoy tea – but I went without any caffeine at all for a few days recently, and it had no effect at all. The addiction is gone and if I have my way it’s never coming back.