I’ve always been a coffee drinker. I started in high school and it’s been a habit that has never gone away.
Though considered to be healthy in small to moderate doses, caffeine, a primary ingredient in most coffees, is a highly addictive stimulant that has been shown to boost energy levels. But believe it or not, my energy level actually increased after I ditched my coffee habit.
Here’s what happened when I stopped drinking coffee for a week.
1. I was less anxious
This surprised me and, frankly, I did not entirely believe it at first.
I did a little research and found that caffeine can be anxiety-inducing for many people, and by cutting it out, I felt more relaxed and less anxious.
My cardiovascular system felt much less “on edge”. Caffeine also increases our heart rate, something that I never want to feel outside of a strenuous workout.
2. I had more energy by the end of the week
On Monday when I began the coffee-free week, I felt more fatigued than usual because my system was used to the consistent intake of caffeine.
By the end of the week, however, I actually felt more energized throughout the day.
Caffeine helps to boost our energy levels, but only temporarily. I realized during the week that once I nixed the regular doses of caffeine, I began to feel energized more naturally and for noticeably longer periods of time.
Without the short-term caffeine hit, my body took over as the primary generator of energy, and for me, it helped keep me alert longer during the day.
3. I went to the bathroom less often
Caffeinated drinks have a mild diuretic effect for some people, which may increase the frequency of bathroom visits. For me, cutting out the morning coffee had a noticeable effect on my bathroom frequency. Even replacing my morning coffee with water, I still went to the bathroom less frequently, which was a pleasant surprise.
4. I had headaches the first couple of days
For regular coffee drinkers, cutting out coffee cold turkey might trigger withdrawal symptoms like headaches.
Some people experience severe withdrawal symptoms, though I was lucky enough to only experience a mild headache during the late morning and early afternoon the first two days of my experiment.
Your mileage may vary. Cut out caffeine gradually, rather than overnight, to help reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms.
In general, how many cups of coffee are safe to drink per day?
The Mayo Clinic says up to 400 milligrams of caffeine is considered safe for most healthy adults, which translates into about four cups of coffee or two “energy shots”.
Mayo recommends cutting your caffeine intake if you experience one of the common side effects of too much caffeine, like headaches and sleeplessness, nervousness, anxiety, irritability, or frequent urination.