If you don’t get your daily dose of coffee you may experience a number of symptoms. They can range from a mild headache, irritability, even anxiety. Whatever the symptom we know when we haven’t had a coffee and crave one! But what is caffeine withdrawal?
What Is Caffeine Withdrawal?
In essence caffeine is a drug and as such is addictive. It fits into our brains adenosine receptors, adenosine is a chemical that tells us when we should sleep. But alongside this the chemical dopamine works more efficiently, this is the chemical that makes us feel good. So we feel less tired, feel content but then there is adrenaline produced which makes us feel ‘alive’ and alert. That’s what in summary a good cup of coffee can do for us.
Caffeine Affects People Differently
It is important to note however that as with any drug it can have different effects on people. Some people only need to have I cup of coffee to have an impact as they may be caffeine sensitive. How you react to caffeine can also be determined by how much caffeine you are used to. If you regularly drink caffeine then you will become less sensitive to its effects than someone who does not take it regularly. Other factors which affect reactions to caffeine also include body mass, age and other health issues. In addition research would suggest that men are more affected by caffeine than women.
Also it is worth being aware that we can react with caffeine differently if we are on medication. Some antibiotics react with caffeine so that it remains in your body for longer. Some supplements also affect caffeine. Echinacea for example, often taken for cold relief, has been known to increase the concentration of caffeine in your blood.
How Can You Deal With The Symptoms Of Caffeine Withdrawal
1. First of all it can be useful to work out just how much caffeine you are consuming each day. Remember caffeine isn’t just in coffee. Consider any soft drinks that contain caffeine.
2. If you do need to reduce your caffeine consumption then do it slowly and gradually. Going from 5 cups of espresso a day to none will simply make you feel terrible.
3. Consider having some decaf coffees as it will help you make that transition to less caffeine.
4. Keep hydrated. If you keep drinking water some of the symptoms of caffeine withdrawal will be alleviated.
5. You may need pain killers on hand to help with some of the symptoms, however always ensure you follow the guidance on how much you should take or consult a DR if you are seriously trying to reduce your coffee consumption.
6. Most people find getting to sleep is the hardest thing to do when they change their coffee drinking habits. The best way to ensure you get a good night sleep is to set a routine each night.Dont drink caffeine four hours before bedtime nor should you drink alcohol.
7. Eat well, eating non-processed food that is full of vitamins and minerals will help you cope better with caffeine withdrawal.
8. Exercise as much as you can. Exercise can have the same effect on dopamine that caffeine does, so it will give you that same feeling of contentment as a cup of coffee.
So if you do think you need to reduce your caffeine consumption, check out what the guidelines are and then take it slowly, drink lots of water, exercise and eat well. But what should you be drinking each day?
Guidelines To Daily Caffeine Levels
Most experts agree that adults shouldn’t drink more than 400 mg of caffeine each day, which is equivalent to about four cups of coffee per day.