Caffeine Withdrawals?

caffeine withdrawals

If you gave up caffeine as a New Year’s resolution, you should be finished with caffeine withdrawals by now and feeling like your normal self again. If caffeine withdrawals are keeping you from making that change, however, read on for suggestions on how to keep withdrawals to a minimum.

Do you need to give up caffeine?

Research on the effects of caffeine suggest that it is not a serious problem for most people. In moderate amounts, caffeine can actually be beneficial. However, you may want to give up caffeine. 

For some people, caffeine causes anxiety or interferes with sleep. Caffeine on an empty stomach can cause nausea. If you feel jittery, you may want to cut down on your caffeine intake. You may just dislike the idea of being addicted — and caffeine is in fact an addictive substance. So, while you may not need to give up caffeine, you may want to do so.

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Caffeine withdrawal symptoms

Common symptoms of caffeine withdrawal:

  • headaches
  • aching muscles
  • fatigue
  • a feeling of sluggishness or trouble concentrating
  • nausea

You can expect to have these feelings for two to three days after giving up your coffee, tea, and sodas. However, some withdrawal feelings may linger for two to three weeks. 

You may continue to feel less energetic and less sharp without the energy boost of caffeine. Science writer Michael Pollan concluded in his book Caffeine: How Coffee and Tea Created the Modern World that modern ideas about productivity and work would not be practical without caffeine.

Calming caffeine withdrawals

The best plan, if your resolution is being thrown off by headaches or other symptoms, is to transition away from caffeine gradually. You can switch to decaffeinated versions of your favorite caffeine source, perhaps mixing decaffeinated drinks with your regular brew and gradually cutting back, or try having just one cup instead of two or three.

As you taper off, be sure to replace those energy drinks or lattes with water. Staying hydrated will help you feel better. You may need more rest, and you might as well take advantage of the better sleep many people get without the stimulant action of caffeine.