Monday, October 27, 2014

A Tale of Headaches, Insomnia, Jitteriness, and Irritability: No More Caffeine for Me

by A.L. Woods, Staff Writer

I finally have to concede defeat. I've made up my mind -- no more caffeine for me. I love my morning cup of tea, no matter which blend I choose, but the subsequent headaches and bouts of insomnia that materialize are just too much for my constitution.

A little about caffeine

According to WebMD, not only is caffeine a chemical, but it is found in many products, not the least of which are coffee, tea, guarana, mate, and cola. People consume caffeine for many reasons: to increase mental alertness, help with low blood pressure, and, unbelievably, even to treat attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), just to name a few.

Side effects

Even with my self-defined conservative dosage of one cup a day of tea my body just doesn't seem to be able to withstand the side effects. Many people report no problems at this level, but I can always tell when the caffeine is leaving my system and I'm going through withdrawal because I then get terrible headaches, sometimes just common ones and other times blinding migraines. While I am under its influence I can without fail always count on being jittery and irritable. In addition, my one cup of tea early in the a.m. can cause me to lie awake, staring at the ceiling all night long.

Not a good choice

Even the Mayo Clinic acknowledges that caffeine may not be the best of choices for folks who are caffeine sensitive or who take certain medications which may interact negatively with it. If you have no ill effects from a moderate caffeine use, then I'm sincerely happy for you. My mileage though has unhappily varied, so after this last ceremonious cup I'm done with it forever.

I scoured the Web to see if there might be a workaround that would allow me to still have my beloved tea (aside from choosing a decaffeinated variety, of course), but though hope may spring eternal, none was found.

At this point, I've come to the conclusion that the healthiest energy boost is that which comes from clean eating and exercise. And a natural consequence of these two good habits is more restful sleep, no headaches, and a natural elevation of mood.

Good night, good night, my dear sweet cup of tea. Parting is such sweet sorrow.

Now on to find my new morning beverage replacement …

Personal experience

*Photo: Raheel Shahid via Flickr

[Originally published on Yahoo! Voices on 06/06/2014 (no longer published there).]