Try avoiding caffeine for a couple of weeks to see how you feel. After you recover from any withdrawal symptoms, you might find that you feel better-rested when you are caffeine-free.
Adenosine, the neurotransmitter that promotes drowsiness, may also foster deep sleep: Without caffeine to block it, you may sleep more deeply and feel more rested and energized.
You may also notice a reduction in ambient anxiety, even if you didn’t think you were particularly jumpy before.
If you do feel better without caffeine, it doesn’t mean you have to quit it forever. You might just find a new, more moderate pattern. “Take it out, see how you feel, then reintroduce it and see how you feel,” says Haas. “Run an experiment, pay attention.”
As you reintroduce caffeine, increase the amount slowly. When a certain amount feels like too much, cut back. That’s your caffeine sweet spot. Then you can adjust as needed.
“If you go through a period of increased stress or have a lot of anxiety, it may make sense to gradually taper your caffeine intake,” says Emmons. “What’s happening at any given time in your life has a strong influence on how caffeine affects the nervous system.” At the end of a stressful period, you can return to your regular amount.
If you occasionally have an extra cup of coffee or tea to help you focus on a project or study for an exam, it’s unlikely to cause long-term harm. But be mindful of what type of project you’re working on before you pour yourself a first (or second) cup of coffee.
“Caffeine sharpens focus,” says Emmons. “But when you want to be creative and think outside the box, it might actually be best to have a broader focus, one that is not so sharp and pointed. In that case, caffeine might not be so helpful.”
This was excerpted from “Caffeine!” which was published in the September 2021 issue of Experience Life magazine.