Caffeine Experiment Part 2

It’s been almost a month since I sent out the last email regarding this caffeine experiment. If you’re not familiar with what I am talking about, I did a 60 day experiment to figure out if caffeine was hurting the quality of my sleep and productivity.

Experiment Month

Here is a break down of how my 30 days without caffeine went:

[July 12 – Day 1] – I woke up craving coffee, as you’d expect from a caffeine addict. Throughout the day I had a headache and feeling of not being able to concentrate.

[July 13 – Day 2]– Still have a headache, still feel like I can’t concentrate. Despite having 9 hours of sleep, I feel very tired.

[July 14 – Day 3] – Headache has subsided, my kidneys have started to ache. Don’t feel as tired.

[July 15 – Day 4] – Headache almost completely absent. My kidneys are incredibly sore, drinking lots of water.

[July 16 – Day 5] – This is the most normal I have felt since, quitting caffeine. Kidneys are still a bit sore. I don’t feel tired and I feel like I can concentrate again.

As I noted above, During the first week I experienced multiple withdrawal symptoms. These included: Headaches, fatigue, irritability and sore kidneys. After about 10days these symptoms fully subsided. Looking at the data I collected I can’t see a clear correlation between the month of coffee and no coffee. My sleep time remained roughly the same and my sleep quality does not seem to have improved. This doesn’t surprise me, I am no sleep scientist I know that extremely expensive equipment and sleep labs are required to collect accurate data.

So what advantages did I see?

Firstly, I got tired much sooner in the evening. I felt myself naturally feeling tired at about 08:00pm instead of my previous bedtime of 10:00pm. While caffeine didn’t necessarily increase my sleep quality it did make falling asleep easier. This is because of a chemical called Adenosine. Adenosine is one of the many factors that contribute to sleepiness. Adenosine coats your neurological receptors throughout the day. As the build up of Adenosine builds up, you’ll feel more tired. Caffeine negates this process, it coats the neural receptors hindering the buildup of Adenosine.

During the day, I can’t say that I felt any tangible advantages. I would have expected to see an increase in my productivity, but this wasn’t the case. I felt much the same as before.

What now?

I am still toying with the idea of drinking caffeinated beverages. I thought I’d rush to go back to coffee, but rather I find myself feeling apprehensive about it. I want to consume caffeine in a more responsible manner going forward. Perhaps, only 1 cup a day during the mid morning. This would make the most sense since caffeine stays in your body for about 10 – 12 hours which would mean the caffeine would be out of my body by bed time.

I genuinely enjoy the taste of a good cup of coffee, this is what I miss. I don’t really relish the kick that I get from coffee. Although the kick that I got from my first cup of coffee after 30 days of no coffee was rather nice. It’s something I have not experienced in quite a while.

Advice for someone who wants to try a similar caffeine experiment

If you are wanting to try a similar experiment here is what I’d recommend:
Don’t quit cold turkey. It’s really uncomfortable. Rather, slowly ween yourself off of caffeine by drinking decaffeinated drinks and drinks with less caffeine like various varieties of tea (Green Tea has a really low caffeine content).

Set yourself a goal, establish how long you’re going to quit caffeine and why. Also clearly outline what type of results you would like to see at the end. This will help you understand whether you should continue when you’re done with your caffeine fast.

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