Coffee, pre-workout supplements, fat burners, energy drinks; most of us consume at least one of these stimulant containing products during the week, many of us every single day!
However, is having a break from them worthwhile?
I certainly think so! When your body gets used to having stimulants all the time, it can take more caffeine to get the same stimulating effect it once did with less. By taking a break, this can help our body get back to ‘baseline’.
The first time I took a break, it was a little uncomfortable however, after a few days I soon got used to not having caffeine and when I started drinking coffee again, I REALLY felt it! I reduced the amount I was having and still got a decent kick, meaning I wasn’t consuming too much caffeine or making my tolerance for caffeine increase rapidly.
When Is A Good Idea To Take A Break From The Caffeine?
It’s all well and good saying we should take a break from caffeine, but who are the people who should really be thinking of taking a break: read on below. If they sound like you then a bit of time off will do you well. We’ll go into how and a bit more about the benefits of time off soon.
No Effect From Caffeine
Are you having a strong coffee and feeling no different? If this sounds like you, it sounds as though you’ve developed a strong tolerance to caffeine.
You Feel As Though You Need It
Are you experiencing dips in energy during the afternoon? Although this could occur due to many different reasons, if you’re consuming a lot of caffeine in the morning, energy dips in the afternoon could certainly be a reason why.
These are some reasons you may want to take a break, however even if these don’t apply to you (yet you consume a lot of caffeine) it may be worth taking a break and being pro-active rather than reactive should they crop up.
The Benefits of Taking Time Off
1) Most people feel a lot fresher after they have their time off and a lot less dependent on their stimulant source. A large objection to taking time off is that it’ll affect their work, which may be true, but long term you’ll feel and perform a lot better so it’s time well spent.
2) Caffeine sensitivity can be reset and so you’ll need far less to get a stimulating effect. If you’re someone who has no effect from caffeine because you’ve overdone it, then after enough time off you’ll actually feel the effects of caffeine and be able to enjoy a good cup of coffee once more!
3) More stable energy levels are a common theme amongst those who have had time off. Instead of highs and lows they experience more consistent energy (and more predictable moods).
4) High caffeine levels can cause anxiety due to the adrenal stimulating effects of caffeine, lower levels of anxiety are not uncommon from people I’ve spoken to following a break (myself included!).
How Long Do We Need To Take Off?
There’s no magic number, the higher your tolerance or the lower your sensitivity has become…the longer you’re going to need off.
For me, who consumes 2-3 strong coffees a day, I find that 14 days works really well. However, many people have way more caffeine than me!
As we don’t know how long to take, if you do take a lot of caffeine and don’t feel the effects anymore, 2-4 weeks off should work quite well.
For those who that ‘won’t work for’, instead of going off completely (cold turkey), try tapering your consumption down. Instead of having it every day, try 2-3 days a week with the intention of having a week to 2 weeks off down the line. Or reduce your daily consumption.
Ultimately, something is better than nothing and I realise that it’s better to reduce than suggest 2-4 weeks off cold turkey and nobody does it!
Try to have 2-4 weeks off caffeine completely. If you cannot do that right away, cut down the amount you have and then have some time off.
The benefits are there to be had, it may be tough if caffeine is your best friend. You’ll be reunited once more and feel all the better for it!
Top Tip: Oh and it may be worth planning up front when you have time off, so that you can mentally prepare for it!