Let me me start by telling you one of my secrets: I love great coffee. And I split my time between two amazing ‘coffee culture ‘ place of Vancouver Canada and Bali.
But here’s the thing, I am ALSO pretty darn caffeine sensitive, so that means I have to drastically limit my coffee intake, especially in Bali where decaf is near impossible to find!
Everyone has a different caffeine ‘threshold’ to what they can consume without it sneakily sabotaging sleep and mood and leading to feeling anxious or irritable.
And these effects can really sneak up on you so that it’s easy to justify continuing to drink coffee because it’s not super clear cut.
Caffeine has been proven to decrease brain blood flow in normal people, when they consume about 2 cups of coffee worth of caffeine.
Caffeine has also been proven now in multiple studies to increase ‘state anxiety’ that is, feeling anxious in ‘normal’ people who don’t have any panic or anxiety disorders. Another study found that caffeine increased anxiety, depression and hostility traits one hour after consuming it even in small amounts!
The good news is that if you overindulge in a few too many cups of coffee, and you are like OMG I just OD on coffee!! and feel anxious or jittery, a recent study showed that cardio exercise can help get rid of those caffeine jitters in a snap! I’ve definitely made use of this trick myself;)
When I work with my clients, most of who are busy professionals dealing with stress in their lives, I look for few key markers that they should go on a 4 week ‘caffeine holiday’ to hit the ‘reset button’ and feel calmer, happier and actually by the end of four weeks—many feel more productive, patient and creative too! I limit myself to MAX one cup of coffee /day and not every day and I take at least 2 month long caffeine holidays each year to reset, and always feel amazing afterwards!
So, here are the things to check to see if you need a caffeine holiday:
You feel anxious, stressed or overwhelmed more than once/week
You have fragmented sleep, that is, waking up in middle of night or difficulty falling asleep more than once a week
You are too tired to work out or socialize after work if you don’t have at least one cup of coffee/day
You have a headache and brain fog if you don’t start your day with a cup of coffee
You are having a hard time concentrating and feel like it’s hard to sit still at work and focus for more than 20 minutes on a task
So if you said yes to any of those, then you may be ready for a caffeine free month! If you drink lots of coffee or caffeine, gently decrease your coffee consumption by a bit each day over a few weeks time to avoid caffeine crashes.