Monday, April 14, 2014

"PLEASE LET ME SLEEP" or "How I Gave Up Caffeine - Part 1"

It has now been two years since I gave up caffeine. I'd be lying if I said that I haven't had any caffeine in the past two years. Every now and then, I do have a small 6oz cup of black tea. I think I have had three cups like this in the past year. I am truly amazed at how such a small portion of black tea can make me feel so energized. Three years ago, it used to take me drinking an 8oz cup of coffee with three shots to feel as much of an effect as I feel now with just the small cup of black tea. This realization is what keeps me away from almost all things laden with caffeine. Not going to lie, there are some days that I feel so dog-tired and contemplate getting a cup of coffee in the morning. On those days, I push through it with yoga, jogging, working out, getting in the pool or something else to get my blood going. 

I look back on myself in 1997 and remember all of the foods and beverages that I ate and drank. The amount of caffeine that I ingested was staggering. I would continuously drink Coca Cola, coffee, tea, and other caffeinated soft drinks throughout the day in a non-ending stream. It didn't matter that the foods were laced with caffeine. I just "enjoyed" the flavor and kept on taking these foods into my body. As much as I took in, I was always tired and I always wanted to sleep throughout the day. When it actually came time to go to bed, it was so very difficult to go to bed. As tired as I was, I suffered from insomnia.

I started reading about what I could do to help with this situation. There are a lot of interesting postulations, theories, hypotheses, and opinions out there. Of everything I read and learned, the one item that resonated with me the most was stopping caffeine after 2pm. There were many people that wrote about how this self-imposed rule helped them sleep better.

I tried and I failed. With high school and then college, I needed the "energy" to get me through. Had I known what I know now I might have kept with the reduction. It wasn't until 2005 that I actually made myself follow the rule. It was very difficult to only drink non-caffeinated beverages after 2pm. Caffeine was in everything and was hawked without a second thought. I eventually managed to keep myself to this rule and eventually found that I did sleep better. At this stage in my life, I had been giving myself B12 injections for 3 years; I think that this gave me real energy that allowed me to break through part of the caffeine chains.

I would not break this rule for several years.

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