You’ve got two options: Go cold turkey and nix caffeine from your life entirely, or take a page from the player handbook (admit it, you’ve dated enough of them) and do a slow fade. Here are the pros and cons of each option and how to decide which is best for you.
The more caffeine you use, the higher your tolerance level becomes and the more you need for the desired energy boost. If you drink pots of coffee a day (you know, like me), then the cold turkey approach will lead to not-so-pretty withdrawal symptoms.
"Withdrawal symptoms can include severe headaches, muscle aches, temporary feelings of depression and irritability," says nurse practitioner Diane K. Newman. "When people experience these symptoms, they often just take in more caffeine to make them go away. This cycle’s hard to break."
So true. When I tried going cold turkey, my brain waves stopped waving and my 15-minute yoga routine took over an hour. Oy to the vey. The good news: Once the withdrawal was over and done with, I felt like a completely different person. The bad news: When I caved, I caved hard. I binged on coffee to the point where I stopped blinking.
If this is the route you want to take, here are some tips to keep in mind:
After oodles of research, the general consensus is doing a slow fade is the best option, especially if during the withdrawal period you struggle to function. The slow fade involves quitting caffeine by gradually decreasing your consumption level over time. It helps make the withdrawal process less icky, but you have to keep very close track of how much caffeine you’ve consumed and stick to the process of cutting back.
Ways to do so include:
This gives your body the opportunity to replenish its natural energy levels so you can go back to enjoying coffee instead of depending on it.>
We all have a different sensitivity to caffeine and a different tolerance level to the withdrawal symptoms. (For me personally, I’ll do anything to justify having another cup of coffee. In fact, I’m justifying right now.) If you’re sitting on the fence, why not give the Caffeine Zone app a try? Created by researchers at Penn State, it helps decipher whether that next cup of coffee will boost your productivity — or ruin your sleep that night.
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