Sometimes the temporary boost you get from coffee just isn’t worth it– such as jitters, anxiety or other problems as listed below. Some people quit coffee because of medical conditions – dietitian Lauren Manacker, for example, quit coffee after a concussion. “I had a terrible headache and found that the caffeine was so stimulating to my brain that it made me feel terrible. My condition improved almost immediately when I quit caffeine cold turkey,” she said.
But not everyone can quit cold turkey or even quit caffeine altogether. No matter where you consider yourself – whether that’s just curious or determined to quit coffee, Manacker shares advice below on the best way to quit your coffee addiction for good.
Reasons to consider forgoing coffee
Coffee is generally considered a safe drink to consume, especially if you consume less than 400 mg of caffeine per day (about four cups of coffee on average, according to the Mayo Clinic). That said, caffeine and coffee affect everyone differently. For one person, 200 mg of caffeine will have no effect, but for someone else it may feel awful. Below are the most common symptoms or concerns that some people may consider quitting.
It causes jitters or makes you feel bad
Some people are more sensitive to caffeine and report feeling jittery, anxious, or just plain dirty when they drink it. For some people this is enough to make them want to stop. For others, just cutting back or cutting back on coffee can help.
It causes sleep problems
or trouble sleeping is another reason you might want to consider quitting coffee. Dr. Deidre Conroy, a behavioral sleep expert at the University of Michigan that caffeine has a persistent effect, meaning you can drink it earlier in the day, but it can affect your sleep quality much later.
It makes your anxiety worse
According to Manacker, drinking coffee can worsen anxiety symptoms, since anxiety and caffeine consumption are linked. When you experience anxiety, your nervous system is usually in overdrive, so drinking a stimulant drink can make you feel even more anxious or stressed.
There are many mixed messages (and conflicting medical data) about how safe caffeine is to consume during pregnancy. But the general recommendation, also by WHO, is to reduce caffeine intake to 200mg and not consume 300mg or more per day. This is because of possible links between high amounts of caffeine and low birth weight, premature birth, stillbirth or growth restriction in unborn babies.
You are suffering from digestive problems
Coffee can causeand acid reflux – unpleasant problems that make many people avoid the stuff altogether.
How to stop drinking coffee
Depending on how addicted you are to coffee, it can be difficult to quit. If you only drink it occasionally, you may not find it difficult to quit. But if you drink it every day, or even several times a day, you want to come up with a strategy that is realistic for you. As someone who has given up coffee in the past, I’ve found that it’s best to do it on a weekend or when you don’t need to be as alert as the first days or weeks can be tough. Below are a few ways Manaker recommends that you quit coffee.
Starting slowly and taper off is a good approach if you don’t want to quit cold turkey. “Enjoying half a cup of coffee can help people to slow down,” says Manaker. You can try making coffee with half a caffeine at home, or slowly reduce the amount of coffee you drink (for example, go to half a cup instead of one cup). If you’re drinking several cups of coffee a day, start cutting back to one and slowly decreasing over time.
Replace with another drink
It can be helpful to replace your coffee with a different drink, especially if it is part of your morning routine. When I quit coffee I replaced it with matcha tea, which still has some caffeine, but not that much. If you want to quit caffeine completely, switch to something decaffeinated, such as herbal tea.
Stop cold turkey
Some people are best off going cold turkey, like Manaker did. If you want to quit coffee and move on as soon as possible, this method can work for you. For some people, quitting cold turkey is too intense and the withdrawal symptoms can keep you from quitting for good.
Possible side effects of caffeine withdrawal
If you quit coffee, you may experience withdrawal symptoms such as fatigue, irritability, headaches, or difficulty concentrating. According to Mayo Clinic, symptoms usually go away within a few days. “Each person will have a different experience with caffeine withdrawal. For me, I struggled for two weeks before feeling well,” says Manaker.
If you’re experiencing withdrawal symptoms, Manaker recommends drinking plenty of water because “getting someone hydrated is key to helping fight fatigue from dehydration,” she says. She also suggests eating plenty of fruits and vegetables to support your body’s energy levels while getting used to cutting back on caffeine.
The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to be health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care practitioner if you have any questions about a medical condition or health goals.