When you are in need of a quick pick-me-up, grabbing a cup of coffee is often the go-to solution. Many people don’t feel as though they can function properly without their caffeine fix in the morning, and a tea or coffee break throughout the day can become a regular ritual. Caffeine is also present in energy drinks, cola, and chocolate.
When caffeine is consumed in moderate amounts it is generally considered to be safe. However, it can be an addictive substance and as your tolerance increases, it can be easy to slip into the habit of consuming more than is good for our health and wellbeing. Here’s a look at the benefits of giving up caffeine.
Caffeine is a stimulant that activates the sympathetic nervous system, meaning that in sufficient quantities it can tip us into ‘fight or flight’ mode. It can also stay in the system for up to five to 10 hours after it is consumed, so it is quite possible that it can affect the quality of our sleep.
This can lock us into a vicious cycle of consuming more caffeine to feel more alert during the day, followed by a broken night’s sleep. The only way to break the cycle is to cut out the caffeine.
Better nutrition and hydration levels
Caffeine contains tannins which can reduce the body’s ability to absorb nutrients such as calcium, iron, and B vitamins. This can lead to deficiencies that cause a range of symptoms such as low energy levels and weak hair and nails. Caffeine is also a diuretic, so although you may be consuming fluids you will also need to urinate more frequently.
This can make it more difficult to maintain optimum hydration levels, causing headaches, dizzy spells, and tiredness. If you are struggling with these issues, adding an electrolyte tablet to a glass of water can help you to rehydrate faster and also make up for a shortfall in essential nutrients.
Consistent energy levels
You may crave the initial boost that coffee brings, but this is soon followed by a slump. Giving up caffeine will leave you with more sustainable energy levels throughout the day.
A strong cup of coffee may give us an initial buzz when we first sit down to work in the morning, but the effect is short-lived. Caffeine is a stimulant that can elevate dopamine levels, but high dopamine levels can cause agitation and anxiety. This can leave you feeling restless and make it more difficult for you to collect your thoughts.
If you constantly find that your mind wanders when you should be working or studying, giving up caffeine may help to get you back on track. This can make you more productive and boost the quality of your work.
If you have a habit of popping into your local coffee shop each morning on the way to work, that can soon add up to £20 a week or more. Try putting aside the money you would normally spend on caffeine products for a month, and using it to buy yourself a treat or invest in a more healthy lifestyle, such as a gym membership.