We all drink coffee for different reasons. Some need it to study right before an exam, some just enjoy drinking it for the taste occasionally, and others are just expected to always be available and productive. Especially in the world we live—an “always on” world where everything is connected so you can always be reached—you can end up drinking coffee just because you need something to get through it all. But sometimes when you drink that much caffeine regularly, you end up getting headaches when you don’t have it.
Effects Caffeine Has On The Body
We live in a world that is constantly “on”. 24 hour news, TV and streaming are always available, and phones and computers keep us connected all the time. All that connectivity means there is always an expectation for us to keep going, and work ends up being something you do all the time. This level of productivity expected of us means we often end up drinking coffee at all hours of the day. When that happens, if you just stop suddenly, you can get what many people refer to as caffeine headaches.
If it’s normal for caffeine to keep you awake, then when you no longer have caffeine, your body is still expecting it.
This is simply the result of our bodies always trying to establish what normal is. If it’s normal for caffeine to keep you awake (specifically, for your adenosine receptors to light up, which is what gives coffee it’s burst of energy), then when you no longer have caffeine, your body is still expecting it. The simplest solution is to have a caffeine product, but if you want to cut down or avoid the headaches while still being able to drink coffee or something with caffeine, then there are ways to go about that.
Simple Headache Treatments
For simple treatment of your headaches, the best medicine is Excedrin. This pill contains a small amount of caffeine as well as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, which as a combination works best. If your goal is to cut down and not just deal with the headaches, just acetaminophen and ibuprofen should work. Drinking lots of water, lots of vitamins and having good food so your body can build energy naturally will help. Pair this along with exercise to tire yourself out and sleep, which will help reset your system.
Drinking Tea as an Alternative
For those who still need caffeine, tea is a great alternative. If you just can’t stay away from coffee, then avoiding the drink after a certain time of the day or switching to tea in the afternoon can help you avoid staying up too late. This in turn prevents you from feeling tired the next day, needing more coffee, and allowing the process to repeat itself. If you have high natural energy levels or can raise your energy levels, then you can still enjoy coffee. Just be sure to avoid overdoing it with a half dozen cups in a day.
Switching to tea for a few days can make it easier to go back to lower levels of coffee when you decide to start drinking coffee again.
Avoid double espresso shots. You can still enjoy a frappucino with just one espresso shot. Green tea has the lowest amount of caffeine though, with black tea being as strong as a half cup of coffee. Green tea also contains l-theanine, a natural anti-anxiety component of green tea. Matcha being green tea also contains this. And of course there are teas like rhoibos tea (red bush tea) which do have levels of energy boosters that are not caffeine. Switching to tea for a few days can make it easier to go back to lower levels of coffee when you decide to start drinking coffee again.
At the end of the day, sometimes we just need that coffee in the morning, and it isn’t exactly impactful on your life. If you want to avoid having headaches, hopefully this can help reduce the amount you experience them.