Coffee consumption is linked to a lot of benefits. Apart from perking your mornings, coffee is known to reduce the risk of certain diseases such as cancer, Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.
However, excessive consumption of coffee can lead to addiction which is hard to withdraw. Coffee contains caffeine, which is a natural stimulant. Caffeine is responsible for boosting your energy levels and keeping you alert and focused.
Just like drugs, when you consume a lot of caffeine, you become caffeine dependant, and failure to drink leads to its side effects. You tend to develop a strong dependency on caffeine physiologically, emotionally, and psychologically. However, when you consume the right amounts of caffeine, it will help you in several ways. Some side effects of too much coffee or caffeine consumption are:
A headache is an example of a caffeine withdrawal symptom, and you may have tried withdrawing from coffee only to end up with a pounding headache. This is a side effect of coffee or caffeine withdrawal, and some other caffeine withdrawal symptoms include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Depressed mood
Why Do Headaches Happen?
Caffeine in coffee is responsible for headaches. Usually, when you take coffee, the caffeine narrows your brain’s blood vessels. Failure to drink the coffee, the brain’s blood vessels widen.
When the blood vessels are wide, there is an increased flow of blood in your brain – which triggers headaches and other withdrawal symptoms.
Caffeine in coffee also blocks adenosine receptors responsible for modulating pain in your brain, and when the receptors are blocked, the spread of pain in your head reduces.
Once you stop drinking coffee, you are likely to develop a headache. Normally, regular coffee drinkers develop more adenosine receptors, and failure to drink coffee triggers a headache. A caffeine withdrawal headache may appear similar to a migraine. How do you know it is a coffee withdrawal headache and not something else?
A coffee withdrawal headache will happen after or within 24 hours after you skip a cup of coffee or caffeinated drink. This happens especially to people who consume more than 200 milligrams of coffee each day for weeks.
A coffee withdrawal headache will reduce after consuming 100 milligrams of coffee or caffeine.
Lastly, a coffee withdrawal headache will leave after you consecutively skip caffeine or coffee for seven days.
How Much Coffee is Good for You?
The recommended amount of coffee that you should consume every day is 400 milligrams. This is equivalent to four or five eight-ounce cups of coffee every day. However, keep in mind that caffeine is not only present in coffee but also other types of drinks such as sodas, energy drinks, tea, chocolate, some foods, and medications.
A shot of espresso also has more caffeine than a cup of regular coffee. One shot of espresso has 63 milligrams which are equal to one ounce. When you take 8-ounces of espresso – which is equivalent to 400 milligrams of regular coffee, you result in consuming 504 milligrams of caffeine which is excess caffeine.
Pregnant women, children, and adolescents are recommended to stay away from coffee or other caffeinated drinks.
If you’re a coffee enthusiast and looking for a way to cut it out from your routine, you are in the right place. There are ways you can withdraw from caffeine without having to experience headaches and other withdrawal symptoms.
Let’s begin by describing what caffeine withdrawal is.
What is Caffeine Withdrawal?
Caffeine withdrawal is the effect of what happens after someone used to drink coffee or other caffeinated drinks stops.
You begin to feel the withdrawal symptoms hours after skipping your favorite cup of joe. The symptoms may vary from one person to another depending on the caffeine sensitivity level or tolerance level and how much caffeine you take.
Headache is a common caffeine withdrawal symptom that almost happens to everyone. To get some relief from the symptoms, people end up reaching for a cup of coffee. However, there are other ways to go about caffeine withdrawal. Read on!
How to Withdraw from Coffee Without Headaches
First, before withdrawing from coffee, you will need to make a caffeine audit of the caffeine you are consuming. Figure out the caffeine you are consuming each day and keep in mind that caffeine is present in other drinks, foods, and medication. It is important to read the labels of products before consuming them and to keep track of the caffeine you are ingesting.
Here is a list of some popular caffeinated drinks that can help you figure out the caffeine amount you’re consuming every day.
- An 8-ounce cup of instant coffee – 62 milligrams of caffeine
- A can of energy drink – 80 milligrams of caffeine
- 12 ounces canned coke – 38 milligrams of caffeine
- 12-ounce canned diet coke – 46 milligrams of caffeine
- An 8-ounce cup of decaf coffee – 7 milligrams of caffeine
- An 8-ounce cup of hot chocolate – 9 milligrams of caffeine
Now let’s begin with the withdrawal process.
Drink a lot of water
Staying hydrated is one way of cutting out coffee from your routine without adverse withdrawal symptoms. Water energizes your body which reduces the need to consume coffee.
Coffee is known to boost your energy levels. However, water can serve the same purpose. Usually, people lack energy in their bodies as a result of dehydration, and instead of reaching for a glass of water, they reach for a cup of coffee.
Drink as much water to stay hydrated, and you won’t need that cup of coffee, and neither will you suffer from adverse effects of coffee withdrawal.
In addition to that, caffeine makes you urinate more, which reduces the fluids in your body. Little or no fluid in your body leads to brain shrinkage. When your brain shrinks, it usually pulls away from the skull. This triggers pain receptors in your brain, which results in a headache.
The recommended amount of water you should take daily to keep yourself hydrated is eight glasses. However, this can vary from one person to another.
Do it Gradually
Gradual withdrawal from coffee is the best way to avoid a headache and other withdrawal symptoms. So, how do you withdraw from coffee gradually?
- Set a Time
Set a time at which you will stop drinking coffee every day. Set your time limit about your coffee intake time. For example, if you drink coffee in the morning, and afternoon, skip that cup of coffee and substitute it with a drink that does not contain caffeine such as water or has less caffeine.
- Substitute with Low Caffeinated Drink
Instead of water, you can substitute that cup of coffee with a low caffeinated drink. This small change will help you withdraw from coffee without headaches and other caffeine withdrawal symptoms.
If you drink dark roast, you can switch to light or medium roast. If you drink espresso, you can switch to regular coffee. You can also switch to decaffeinated coffee.
Another way of gradual withdrawal is to do half the amount of coffee you take, then reduce the amount as time goes. If you usually drink espresso, which is more concentrated with caffeine, start by cutting the drink to half or quarter, then slowly reduce or cut it down further after every few days.
Get Enough Sleep
Most people reach out for that morning cup of coffee simply because they had a rough night or didn’t get enough sleep and need to stay awake during the day. Get quality and enough sleep, and you don’t need that cup of joe. Aim for 8 hours of sleep to avoid the sluggish feeling.
In addition to that, sleep and rest are natural cycles. When you are resting, your body performs most of the repair and detoxification. This is why you need to allow your body to perform the natural cycles. Allowing the natural rhythms will reduce your dependency on coffee or caffeine.
One of the reasons most people rely on coffee is to boost their energy levels. However, there are other ways to boost your energy levels and get your dopamine pumping other than a cup of coffee.
Exercising is a good way to boost your energy levels. Exercising triggers, the release of norepinephrine and endorphins, chemicals that help you stay awake and active. A simple walk will keep you energized, and after all, you may not need that cup of coffee.
Eat Healthy Food Regularly
Skipping meals will deprive you of the energy you need, and you may end up grabbing a cup of coffee. So, eat regularly to ensure you have enough energy.
Also, eat healthy foods. Avoid sugary foods and drinks such as white pasta, white bread, desserts, and sodas. Sugary foods and drinks spike up your blood sugar levels which decline shortly afterward.
Avoid foods and drinks with toxins or allergens too. Consider an alkaline diet as it will provide you with minerals and antioxidants that will help remove reactive debris created during coffee withdrawal.
Another coffee withdrawal tip is to get enough protein and fiber. During caffeine withdrawal, bowel movements usually slow down. The fiber and proteins will promote good bacterial balance in your digestive tract, which will help with nutrient absorption during the caffeine withdrawal process.
Also, avoid alcohol. Alcohol leaves you feeling dehydrated which may lead to a sluggish morning. This leads to the need for a cup of coffee to counteract the alcohol effects. So, avoid alcohol as you withdraw from coffee to ensure that your energy levels are high as required.
One of the simplest ways to cut down on coffee consumption without having to experience headaches and other caffeine withdrawal symptoms is to gradually reduce the coffee intake until you are fully withdrawn and keep yourself hydrated. Coffee can be hard to quit, but it is not impossible. Have some faith in yourself, and you can do it.
It only takes approximately nine days to completely withdraw from coffee and reset your coffee tolerance. Withdrawal symptoms like headache are usually behind you within seven days of coffee withdrawal. The first days of the process are unpleasant.
The good thing with coffee withdrawal is that you don’t have to forego coffee forever. After the withdrawal process, you can reset yourself to the recommended amount of coffee and continue to enjoy your cup of joe. You will enjoy the benefits of coffee once you adapt to taking only the recommended amount and following the required guidelines. Exercise, sleep well and don’t rely on coffee to boost your energy.