Caffeine is an essential part of daily life for many people around the world. It has been consumed for thousands of years and legend has it that Chinese Emperor Sheng Nung first discovered tea in 2437 BCE when the wind blew leaves into his boiling water.
The main sources of caffeine in the U.S. are coffee and tea, which , in n small doses, can be healing and beneficial. While it is true that caffeine can improve attention, alertness, vigilance and reaction time, the benefits of quitting caffeine are perhaps more significant. Read on as we discuss how to get caffeine out of your system and get on track to living – and sleeping – better.
Know How Much Caffeine You Are Consuming
How much caffeine is too much? To help answer that question, let’s take a look at some statistics. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, here are the caffeine amounts you can expect in some common beverages:
- One tall (12 oz.) Starbucks coffee, Pike Place Roast: 235 mg
- One cup of Folgers ground coffee, House Blend, made with 2 tablespoons of coffee: 60–80 mg
- One 8 oz. cup of brewed green tea: 29 mg
- One 20 oz. Diet Coke: 76 mg
- One 8 oz. Red Bull: 80 mg
- One 2 oz. 5-Hour Energy (or one caplet of Vivarin or NoDoze): 200 mg
Consuming as little one cup of coffee per day is enough to start building a tolerance for caffeine. Once you build up a tolerance, you become dependent on caffeine just to function normally. As a result, your baseline physical and mental performance goes down unless you consume your regular caffeine amount, and you only reap caffeine’s benefits if you consume more than that amount. You should be wary of consuming too much caffeine for several reasons, but especially because it can disrupt your sleep.
Be Aware of the Effects of Caffeine
If you have been having trouble sleeping, the amount of caffeine you consume may be a culprit. Consuming caffeine can delay the timing of your body’s internal clock and make it harder for you to fall asleep, which will reduce your total sleep time. Caffeine can also reduce the amount of deep sleep you enjoy each night. Consuming caffeine six hours before bedtime can reduce your total sleep time by as much as one hour, and this effect can be more significant in older adults because it takes their bodies longer to process caffeine.
How to Get Caffeine Out of Your System
There are many benefits to quitting caffeine, such as better sleep, increased energy in the long run and more sustainable mental performance. Following these steps will help you say goodbye to caffeine temporarily or for good:
- Choose a replacement beverage – if caffeinated drinks are an essential part of your day, consider replacing them with more water or green tea.
- Start slowly phasing out caffeine – if you are accustomed to a lot of caffeine, it’s best to ease out of the habit in order to minimize withdrawal symptoms. Try cutting caffeine consumption in half during the first week, then cutting the new amount in half the second week, rinse and repeat.
- Give yourself time to rest and recuperate – quitting caffeine can put stress on your mind and body because they have become so accustomed to its effects. If you experience any withdrawal symptoms, get as much rest as you can and remember that the effects are only temporary.
- Don’t go it alone – find someone to quit caffeine with you. If you can’t, just telling a friend or family member you are taking this step could provide the support you need.
Quit Caffeine and Improve Your Sleep
Are you ready to reap the benefits of quitting caffeine? At Whitney Sleep, we believe everyone is entitled to good sleep health, strong mental performance and happy lives. We provide sleep apnea tests and source the best CPAP machines and accessories to help you sleep peacefully.
Our team is happy to answer any questions you may have about the benefits of quitting caffeine, as well as scheduling a sleep consultation or treatment options if caffeine has negatively impacted your sleep. If you are experiencing chronic sleep deprivation, reach out to us now to make an appointment.