I’m sipping on my first cup of coffee in over a month. I have to admit it does taste pretty good. However I only made this cup to experience it one more time, to experience what I had for so many years. I’m not sure I’m going back.

I started my month without coffee experiment for a number of reasons:

Break a dependency

Making a coffee first thing was just what I did in the morning out of habit; wake up, downstairs, make coffee, without even thinking about it.

I depended on coffee, period. I was a 4+ cup a day man, and without at least 3 cups per day my body (headaches) and mind (moods) were affected. Here are the first two days entries of my month without coffee journal:

01: First day of a month without coffee. 15:31. Headache and in a bad mood.

02: Another headache for day 2. A bit in and out, but in general feel shit. Like a had a big night last night.

I want to live a more conscious life, not simply go through the motions, a slave to my habits. Coffee was a habit, a dependency that I literally couldn’t live without, without it affecting who I was and how I behaved. I needed to break the dependency and make more deliberate choices about what I put into my body on a consistent basis.

Better sleep

I hadn’t been sleeping as well as I used to, even though I typically fall asleep immediately and can generally sleep through anything. I was finding it difficult to turn my mind off on some nights, spending what felt like hours working through problems in my head before I managed to fall into a deep sleep.

A day or two before I started my month without coffee an article about how coffee could be affecting your sleep popped into my field of vision (I’ve since lost the source). After reading it, I decided it’s contents were reason enough to give up coffee for a while and see if it helped me sleep better. I can honestly say that, despite the lack of quantitative data, my sleep has been better in the last month. I don’t lay semi awake four hours solving problems in my head. I wake up more easily and less sluggish:

03: Was okay today. No headaches. Drank lots of water, 2 peppermint teas and a fruit tea. Eating healthy, and did a WOD in the morning

04: WOD in the morning. Body feels good. Didn’t feel as tired when I woke up. Really enjoying the peppermint tea.

Experience the benefits

After reading about how coffee affects your sleep, I went on to research what other pros and cons might be experienced by ditching coffee. As you might expect, there are literally thousands of resources you can find on the web, but here are the key benefits (of ditching, so cons) that stuck out for me:

  • Disrupted sleep - Who can’t do without a deeper sleep?
  • Increased cholesterol levels - there’s a history of high cholesterol in my family, so anything to reduce it is more than welcome
  • Dehydration - I struggle to drink enough water as it is

However, when the aforementioned pros and cons article is read entirely on its own, the pros of drinking coffee seem to outweigh the cons.

My future with coffee (or without it)

I doubt I’ve had my last cup of coffee. I think it’s a bit extreme to rule something out of your life for good (unless it’s a complete addiction), and drinking coffee in moderation certainly does have its benefits. However I’m glad I was able to get through a whole month without it and was able to break the dependency. And I’ve enjoyed experimenting with different types of tea, and that’s something I’ll continue to enjoy in the future.

My month without coffee log:

  • 01: First day of a month without coffee. 15:31. Headache and in a bad mood.
  • 02: Another headache for day 2. A bit in and out, but in general feel shit. Like a had a big night last night.
  • 03: Was okay today. No headaches. Drank lots of water, 2 peppermint teas and a fruit tea. Eating healthy, and did a WOD in the morning
  • 04: WOD in the morning. Body feels good. Didn’t feel as tired when I woke up. Really enjoying the peppermint tea.
  • 05: Again, woke up relatively easily and did another WOD. Not sure 3 WODs on the trot can solely be attributed to no caffeine, but I’m not struggling get out in the gym every morning. Still enjoying peppermint tea, and looking forward to trying a few others on the trip to Milton Keynes for the XT16 conference today.
  • 06: Headaches have gone. Really enjoying green tea today. Not missing coffee.
  • 10: Feeling pretty darn good today. No headache. Fresh. Despite not WODing this morning.
  • 11: Enjoying a green tea in a glass, from a pot, in Costa Coffee this morning. It’s a beautiful day outside.
  • 12: Had a slight desire for a coffee this morning (11:40).
  • 19: Really enjoying the green tea surprisingly. Have had only a few moments throughout this 19 days where I thought “geez it’d be nice to have a coffee with milk”
  • 20: I’m really looking forward to my green tea in the morning now! Haven’t been sleeping the best lately though (have been sleeping downstairs on the couch to get up early - stairs are too loud to go down in the morning).
  • 21: I’m not sure I’ll ever go back to coffee. I’m sure in future I’ll set foot in a coffee shop and really fancy one, but I like the fact that I’m not dependent on it anymore. That it’s not part of my daily routine.
  • 24: Green tea is good. Me no likey coffee.
  • 26: Felt like a coffee last night at the Bear Grylls show. But at the same time the desire to keep it out of my life was strong.
  • 30: Green tea hasn’t cut the mustard in the last couple of days; kind of wish I had something else. Maybe because I’ve been so unhealthy this last week.
  • 31: Up at 5am again and into the green tea. I don’t feel the need to jump straight into the day with coffee anymore, which feels great.