What Happens When You Stop Drinking Coffee?
I Gave Up Coffee For 1 Week and Was Shocked That I Experienced This Side Effect
I came to fall in love with coffee a little late in the game, over a year ago at age 40, when I began intermittent fasting. When you're fasting, aside from water, seltzer, and tea, black coffee is one of the only things you're allowed to drink, and it's recommended to help curb your hunger. So I thought I'd give it a try.
Now, a year later, like so many other people, I too love my morning ritual of sipping on a mug of hot coffee; it warms me up and wakes me up. I absolutely love the energy and happiness I feel as well as the laser-focused attention, and it's so sweet that my husband grinds the beans and brews me a cup every morning.
I never thought I was one of those people who "needed" a cup to feel human. I easily gave coffee up for green tea. But since then, I've been drinking it every day. I didn't think there was anything wrong with that, since coffee offers many health benefits, but recently I've been having issues with falling asleep and also waking up multiple times during the night.
My Coffee Experiment
Thinking it was the caffeine causing these issues, I decided to give up coffee (and caffeinated tea) for one week to see how I felt. It was a little weird, that first morning, not having my mug to cup my hands around. But I armed myself with a few new herbal teas, so I was happy sipping on vanilla chamomile and watermelon lime zinger.
How Did I Feel?
During those first three days, my brain definitely didn't feel as sharp. I also felt hungry way earlier, around 9:30 or 10 a.m., when I usually don't feel hungry until 12 or 12:30 p.m. And I craved sugary foods, like bowls of my kids' cereal and toast with almond butter and jelly. This only lasted a few days, though.
At that 9:30 a.m. mark, I also felt slightly foggy-headed and low-energy, but that quickly went away after pounding a huge glass of water. I was happily surprised that I didn't have a morning headache, like I've heard can happen — maybe it was because I made sure to drink a lot of water. I did, however, experience a dull headache after dinner, and I rarely get headaches!
How did I sleep? Wow — that first night was amazing! I fell asleep without a hitch and woke up in the morning feeling completely rested and calm. On the second and third nights, I experienced the same thing. And by that fourth day, those evening headaches went away. By the seventh day, I was shocked — I wasn't missing coffee one bit.
I thought by day eight, I'd be grinding the beans and brewing the coffee myself, but I didn't even think of it until my husband handed me a mug. I grabbed it, took one little sip, then put it on the counter. When it was time for lunch, I went to grab my kale salad from the fridge and saw the mug on the counter — I'd totally forgotten to drink it!
So I guess that's my answer. I'm so glad that after one week of giving up coffee, I wasn't itching to get it back in my life. I'm loving my solid nights of sleep, and I also noticed that my energy levels and focus improved by the end of the week. It's definitely not at the level of sharpness it is when caffeinated, but I'm OK with that. I guess I'm not as "addicted" to coffee as I thought, and I'm happy just sipping on tea and having coffee when I feel like it.