I confess: my first thought when I wake up in the morning is, “Yay, coffee!” It’s only one cup every day, but I feel grumpy until I get it. The good news is, the daily cuppah fills me with energy and and a good mood.The bad news is, I’m addicted. As addicted to my one cup as the gal drinking 8 cups daily. That’s why the world seems grey on a sunny morning. By the time I wake up, I’ve been too long without my caffeine fix. We have a great article on coffee and health here.
Some experts debate the correctness of using the term “addiction” with regard to coffee and caffeine in general. After all, there’s none of the damage to individual health and society associated with addiction to alcohol and drugs. But if stopping coffee involves physical and emotional symptoms like irritability, fatigue, headache and depression, “addiction” is good enough for me..
Luckily, I’m the earliest riser in the house, which gives me time to make and savor The Drink To Raise The Dead before greeting the family. Otherwise, they’d get a morose face and short answers from me, with “What did I do to deserve that?” reactions, and everyone going around in a huff. An alarming scenario; but preventable, if I just get that coffee magic into me first thing.
The abstract of a scholarly study on the effects of caffeine use from Science Direct states: ” Caffeine is the most widely used psychoactive substance and has been considered occasionally as a drug of abuse. … After sudden caffeine cessation, withdrawal symptoms develop in a small portion of the population but are moderate and transient.”
Research by the Coffee&Health organization indicate that the peak level of plasma caffeine is 15-120 minutes after drinking a normal-sized mug, depending on the health map of the individual drinking it. The uplifted effects may last up to 4 hours.
But coffee is a mysterious, contradictory substance. A review published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease suggests that one cup every four hours will improve mood, but that those who consume high doses may suffer opposite mood swings, with depression, anxiety and the jitters.
What’s a high dose? According to the Mayo Clinic, more than 4 cups a day can cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms, including irritability, fast heartbeat, and migraine. It makes sense that if a person drinks a cup of coffee or an energy drink every few hours to stay alert after restless or too-short sleep, their body will be fighting to shut down and get some rest. Grouchy usually goes with tired.
So what’s the wisest way with coffee? Given that 90% of the world uses caffeine in one form or another, the key word is watchfulness. Enjoy your coffee, but limit it to one cup every four hours. Drink your last cup early in the evening to avoid the well-known insomnia effect that would otherwise catch up with you later that night.
And make sure to make your loved ones feel valued, even before that first cup.