Doing the Impossible: How I Completed a Six Month Caffeine Cleanse

Caffeine may seem like your best friend, but it could be your worst enemy

One cup of coffee can contain up to 250mg of caffeine. (Kristen Frier)

As students, we tend to keep ourselves overly occupied by attempting to balance out the chaotic combination of school, work, and a half-descent social life. Caffeine is a tool that is commonly used to help maintain focus and determination while getting through the business of life.

The body produces adrenaline and dopamine, two hormones that function in order to keep the mind alert. If the body ingests caffeine daily, it will begin to depend on caffeine for an unnatural source of energy rather than using its natural hormones.

The average coffee drinker consumes up to three cups of coffee each day. Each cup can contain up to 250 mg of caffeine alone. When consuming such high amounts of caffeine each day, an individual can experience side effects like anxiety, insomnia, digestive issues, high blood pressure, and fatigue. Caffeine has its benefits, but it’s not always fun losing sleep at night or giving half of your paycheck to cafés and coffee shops.

I used to face difficulties with falling asleep at night. I would lay awake for hours wondering why my mind wouldn’t allow my body to rest. I tried multiple remedies — meditation, stretching, counting sheep — but nothing seemed to work. I was fed up. All I wanted was to sleep. I knew deep down that in order to successfully sleep well at night, I needed to entirely cut out caffeine from my routine.

On the first day of my caffeine cleanse, I experienced withdrawal symptoms like headaches, nausea, and fatigue. I wanted to brew myself a good cup of coffee, but I stuck through my experiment and didn’t quit.

That first night, I fell asleep almost instantly. It looked like caffeine was the leading cause of my sleep deprivation, so I decided to continue with my cleanse.

I went six months without caffeine. During that period, I slept like a baby, and as a bonus saved a lot of my money by eliminating my everyday visits to Tim Hortons.

The benefits of a caffeine cleanse are different for everyone. An individual who cuts out caffeine could potentially save money, lose weight, get whiter teeth, sleep better, and altogether become less reliant on a substance for a source of energy.

In order to successfully commit to a caffeine cleanse, you must set yourself up for success. Quitting an addiction can be challenging, so here are four helpful tips to maintain your cleanse while experiencing withdrawals.

Switch to decaf. Plenty of coffee shops sell decaffeinated coffee. It tastes no different than caffeinated coffee, and the placebo effect could trick your brain into thinking you’re drinking regular coffee.

Replace your coffee with tea. There are plenty of decaffeinated tea options that you could consume to help lessen your raging desire for caffeine.

Drink water, and lots of it. Dehydration leads our body to fatigue, so drinking more water can help your mind stay alert.

Slowly decrease your caffeine intake over time. If you are currently having two cups of coffee a day, try having just one a day, then stop having it altogether. The less caffeine you consume, the easier it will be to quit.

Cutting out caffeine may seem impossible at first, but with time it gets easier. Allowing your body to take a break from a substance that is relied upon so heavily — especially by students — could be extremely beneficial to your school, work, and personal life.

Going six months without caffeine was one of the best experiments I’ve ever done for my body. I highly advise anyone who is experiencing side effects from consuming caffeine to quit, even if it’s just for a short amount of time.

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