Never say never, but most likely never will I be giving up coffee, lol. Aside from the caffeine part, I genuinely just love the taste so much.
That being said I want to explore into the effects and of what it can do for you. Is there a suggested window you should leave caffeine-free? Absolutely! Studies suggest the most optimal time for coffee consumption is from 9am-12pm, being the most needed and utilized by the body at the time. At the minimum, a general rule of thumb is no consumption of caffeine past 2pm.
So where does this play a part in terms of health? Sleep. You may be able to fall asleep easy and you no longer feel the effects of caffeine but consumption 3-6 hours before bed can result in disruptive effects on sleep, at times unknowingly.
Although you might feel like reaching for that additional boost of caffeine in the afternoon might be a good idea it may be doing more harm than good. Post lunch/after ingestion there is an influx of biochemical changes caused by digestion and as a response you can feel tired. The next logical move would be reaching for more caffeine. That caffeine you feel you need is counterproductive and you might find yourself seeking even more long term. Everything in moderation, but the goal is caffeine consumption should be used to boost productivity not sabotage it.
Personally, I like to cut off any consumption by 12-1pm, at the minimum. I’ve felt those exact effects of caffeine. I am able to fall asleep but notice I feel restless and wake up more frequently during the night. Sleep is on the top of my priority list for recovery, stress, hormone stabilization, cognitive clarity and much more – all things I want to optimize as much as possible.
Coffee, more than just a beverage
Coffee is a considered a drug, not just a beverage. More specifically a stimulant – a substance that can increase activity of the nervous system and body. Thus, it should be used sparingly and only for specific purposes to alter consciousness, consciously.
Without going into to much detail coffee falls within one of the six drug categories (stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens, dissociative, opioids, inhalants and cannabis), being a stimulant. Simply put, when something falls into one of these categories it has the ability to effect the body if consumed, whether that being positive or negative. Drug categories are grouped according to their chemical activity, each having there own characteristics, effects, and side effects. However, in moderation there is positives from coffee and one cup in the morning has been proven to be beneficial and assist in regulating the circadian rhythm. But as I mentioned above the appropriate window for consumption should be avoided in late afternoon or evening. Typically, the general use is to combat fatigue, and should be used to boost productivity not sabotage it. Chronic caffeine use can secretly be sabotaging your health and can result in low-level fatigue and even moderate to severe adrenal fatigue. Adrenal glands regulate stress response, overstimulation becoming difficult to respond to stress because your ability to produce necessary hormones is impeded. When repeatedly stimulated they can become exhausted. This can lead to other health issues, stress problems, ulcers, headaches, hypertension.
It really comes down to how you use it and how much by observing when and why you need caffeine in the first place. By doing this it can be incredibly telling towards dependence and differentiating low-level fatigue versus chronic adrenal fatigue. The good news is a stimulant dependence can be reversed within a 3-4 week period (on average, this is dependent on individual severity). Natural remedies for increased energy can easily be achieved and it can be as simple as evaluating your day to day lifestyle. This can be stat with a caffeine detox, emphasis on a healthy diet, quality protein sources and movement. Do you need to eliminate caffeine completely? Absolutely not. This is just a matter of reaching a healthy consumption where the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.