I read an interesting article recently by Dr. Travis Bradberry that you’ll probably hate! Still, it’s my job to be the source of knowledge when it comes to providing tips to improving your work performance and efficiency. Dr. Travis Bradberry’s counsel on the matter? Cut down or eliminate caffeine.
This may or may not be news to you. There’ve been articles and studies both on the effectiveness of a little caffeine boost to get you going and also of the drawbacks of doing this. Having been caffeine free now for several months, I think I am jumping on Bradberry’s bandwagon. You can check out his entire article here “Caffeine: The Silent Killer of Success”.
Before caffeine consumption habits form, having a cuppa now and then feels good. Many people say they feel more alert and that their mood improves. There are even studies that suggest this may be true, in the short term. Here’s the kicker, though! In recent studies, researchers have found that “performance increases due to caffeine intake are the result of caffeine drinkers experiencing a short-term reversal of caffeine withdrawal”. What that means is that when you haven’t had your morning coffee, and feel that slump, your performance feels like it’s in need of a boost – that’s withdrawal. You get your coffee, and all of a sudden you’re good as new. Nope! You’re really just back to normal.
In summary Dr. Travis points out that caffeine hinders our ability to manage stress emotions and to remain calm under pressure. Because caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline, your brain and body is put into a hyper-aroused state giving a rise to emotions like irritability and anxiety. Additionally, caffeine can raise blood pressure, stimulate the heart and produce shallow breathing, which all making keeping calm and rational a bit more difficult. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Caffeine takes HOURS to completely exit your system. That means when it’s bedtime, your sleep suffers. It’s not only harder to fall asleep, when you finally get there, the caffeine still in your system reduces rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is the deep sleep that allows you to fully recuperate and process emotions. So… what do you do? You wake up groggy and grab another cup of coffee. It’s a horrible cycle.
By now, maybe you’re thinking there may actually be a valid reason to quit drinking caffeine or at least cut back, but do be careful. Caffeine’s addictive, and withdrawal is real. Slowly cutting back is the best way to avoid feeling withdrawal symptoms like headaches, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating too acutely.