The experiment of musing.. without coffee. Not today of course, but this past week.
I try to detox when it becomes necessary to do so, and reset my sleep and energy cycle. Despite the wonders of caffeine and the amazing aroma of coffee, it also has adverse effects. I’ve long struggled with insomnia which I’ve decided has many causes. Sometimes more, sometimes less. I’m trying to understand how and if coffee contributes to that. I know it obviously does if I drink caffeine past noon. It just seems to stay in my system forever. But what about having a simple cup in the morning? Non-scientifically, the factors seem to be 1) dehydration is a main culprit 2) drinking coffee to force myself awake rather than just prodding myself awake changes my natural rhythm.
I’ve read different studies on the health benefits of drinking, or not drinking coffee. It appears to be inconclusive, and the majority of ailments are second hand. One great comprehensive study actually showed there was a lower mortality rate for coffee drinkers, especially once the health factors, such as smoking or obesity are teased out. While researching (on google of course) the other side of it, the benefits of quitting coffee are, there seemed to be some valid points. What I found the most convincing was that it does drain your body of natural vitamins. However, the other stuff seemed to be more personality issues for people rather than caffeine’s fault. Maybe caffeine does give them anxiety. But i doubt that will simply go away without coffee, despite their claims to living a wonderful fulfilling life after quitting. Clearly, someone must weight the benefits with the negatives. I don’t like to drink too much, otherwise it can make me more anxious if I’m nervous already. Or irritable at little things. I have to be very conscious of self control at work after a rough morning of thinking and excitement and coffee. The benefits are that it helps my concentration, makes me focus on writing and thinking, although too much makes it so my mind wanders and I don’t get done what I had intended. It also makes me happy and hyper. Aside from that, I genuinely love the taste, enjoy trying new and different kinds, and it has a positive connection of good conversation. When I visit family or friends, we talk for hours, drinking coffee and discussing life.
However, back to the adverse effects. I don’t blame coffee for my sleep problems. I blame the secondary causes – dehydration, and forcing myself awake.
Let’s start with the second part:
So when I sleep terribly, I try hard to make it through the day without coffee so that I can fall asleep again easy. But in some cases this just isn’t possible, as this past week I was falling asleep at work and making stupid mistakes, operating on very little sleep, so I had to resort to drinking coffee to make myself stay awake. And, in a vicious cycle, even after having slept only a few hours, I can’t sleep the next night again, because of the caffeine I have late in the day. I don’t really see a remedy for this, other than not letting it happen in the first place. I slept for about 15 hours on Saturday after the week was over. That was also the first day of no coffee after hyper dosing up on it all week to stay awake. Tired as well for a few days after that.
Dehydration: I’ve concluded this is a major cause. My sleep cycle seems to be interrupted more after a late night workout independent of if I drank coffee or not. Coffee probably exacerbates this, hence my experiment. Coffee leaches out the water in your body, as natural diuretic. I don’t drink enough water as it is. In fact, the doctor told me one time I was in a constant state of dehydration. I like working out late though. Well, I’m not sure about that, more so it has become a habit, as that is when the gym clears out. Monday capo classes also get out late, and i get home around 10:30, eat a small dinner, which probably also doesn’t help with sleeping to eat late. Back to the point. If i have a hard workout, even getting home at 9 from the gym, it can interrupt my sleep. My solution is to drink more water throughout the day. Another problem with coffee is its not meant for long days. So when I do workout late, I can be tired if I had too much coffee early. I will also never drink coffee before going to the gym in the morning, just feels weird.
My conclusion: nothing really.
People will probably find whatever evidence they need to support why coffee is bad for you. I haven’t been convinced, and recognize the times when it is, and stop for awhile to get my sleep schedule back, since I don’t like feeling I ‘need’ coffee to stay awake.