Since I can currently wake up when I want, caffeine has become much less important to me. This is a pretty big shift for me. For many years I didn’t even like coffee and didn’t drink it with any sort of regularity. For some weird reason I only drank it when I was on vacation or on the rare occasion I desperately needed to stay awake late at night.
That all changed when I started working at my last job for a company that did event planning. When I was on site at conferences I had to be ON very early in the morning, have very long day of 10-14 hours, then promptly get to sleep at night and start the whole cycle over again. That cycle would go on for 5 or more days in a row for most of our events. That started my am coffee addiction and then sleeping pills at night. I was no longer in control of my body’s ability to tell me when it needed rest or not. When I met Dave I started to sleep quite a bit better and I didn’t need the sleeping pills so much but I was still drinking coffee in the morning like clockwork.
When I quit my job I slowly stopped drinking coffee until one day I realized I hadn’t had any in over a week. Then I slipped and had a caffeine blitz: one cup at home, two cups at a restaurant and a large diet Pepsi at lunch. That night I kept waking up and had chest pounding nightmares. In the morning feeling lousy from no sleep, I clearly saw the connection and decided to cut out caffeine. To drive the point home further, the other day I visited my parents, had one glass of strong iced tea and promptly had another sleepless night. Without a doubt I know it was the caffeine.
Now that I have really seen the impact of the caffeine on my sleep I started to wonder how else it had effected me. Did it have something to do with the problems with my heart? Did it influence the way I responded to things at work and my everyday life? I suspect it has impacted me much more than I realized. I used to be pretty close friends with adrenaline surges during the day. They were so common for me that I didn’t even know that they were anything unusual. But as I started to get a handle on my stress and I would feel that sensation in my chest, (sort like when you bite into a lemon and feel your saliva glands squeeze, but in my chest). I realized that it was adrenaline I was feeling. Thankfully lifestyle change and all but removing caffeine has made that a much more rare occurrence these days.
I bring all of this up because I have so many friends that tend to live pretty stressed out lives and drink tons of coffee. I know, I know that many of us live in the great North West and coffee is a way of life. But, I am here to tell you that for coffee probably isn’t your friend either. That panic and pressure you feel at work, might not just be what is going on in your head, but may also be the physical impact of caffeine on your body. If you are having sleepless nights, panic attacks and anxiety it could be that double-frappa-mocha-latte-grande causing it. That energy comes at a price.
I found a couple of articles that might help free you from the shackles of caffeine: