Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Giving up caffeine has more benefits than you might think

I've given up caffeine again.

I've never drunk coffee, but I have a longtime diet cola habit.  Some might call it an addiction.  I might down 2 or 3 cans of Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi in a day, or for a change of pace, get an enormous "bladder buster." I get a buzz from it, no doubt about it.

But it doesn't feel right, so last week, I went caffeine free. It hasn't been easy, especially that first day when my body screamed that I needed something caffeinated.

This isn't the first time I've gone caffeine-free, and each time I experience a tug-of-war. Yes, there are times in the day when a little caffeine lift would feel just right. But I have to remind myself that going caffeine-free has a surprising number of benefits:

  • I sleep better. A lot better. When I'm "on" caffeine, my sleep is shallow. I tend not to fall asleep easily, and I wake up and stir more often. This is true even though I try not to have any caffeine after 2 p.m.
       But without caffeine, I sleep solidly and deeply. I have rich, even crazy,
       dreams. It's great.

  • I need less sleep. With deeper sleep when I'm in the no-caffeine mode, I need fewer snooze hours. That means I can stay up a little later, or get up earlier. I can watch an extra TV show, or read a little more. 
  • It saves me money. The cost of soda adds up.
  • I don't have to run to the bathroom as often. Diet soda just races through you.
  • I eat better. When I'm drinking soda, I find a way to make a trip to a burger joint such as In-n-Out, or to get a hot dog at Costco. Gee, as long as I'm here, I can get a soda and free refills! Without the lure of the soda, I'll find something better than a burger or a hot dog to eat.
One thing about a caffeine-free lifestyle: You've got to have a afternoon nap. Or at least I do. I sometimes take naps even when I'm in the soda lifestyle, but without caffeine, they're essential.

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