We get it: There are times when you can’t imagine getting through your day without a hot, strong cup of black coffee. It’s not just the full-bodied taste or the energy you love — it’s the ritual, whether you grind and brew your own pot every morning or purchase a cup at the hippest cafe in your neighborhood. While having a cup or two of coffee each day has its benefits — among them improved liver function and reduced risk of getting serious diseases like skin cancer, Alzheimer's and Type 2 diabetes — it also makes you seriously dependent on caffeine. Would you ever consider going completely coffee-free for a whole week? If you decide to go ahead with it, here’s what you can expect — the good, the bad and the ugly.
1. You’ll save money.
Fueling your caffeine addiction can add up. For instance, if you buy a $3 latte every day, you’re spending $21 a week on just coffee. It may not seem like a lot, but cutting out your daily cup of joe can have a huge impact on your finances. If you extend your coffee-drinking hiatus for a few more weeks or months, you could save hundreds of dollars.
2. You’ll be less anxious.
Drinking too much coffee too frequently can result in the jitters, a general term for symptoms like shaky hands, twitchiness, a rapid heartbeat, or cold sweats. These annoying side effects can impact your concentration and confidence. By cutting out large amounts of caffeine from your diet by avoiding coffee, you’ll feel a greater sense of calm and ease. Worrying about random caffeine-induced anxiety attacks will no longer be a part of your routine.
3. You’ll sleep better.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, caffeine consumption, even in moderation, can result in sleep disturbance or even insomnia. For this reason, the organization recommends avoiding the consumption of any sort of caffeinated beverages around bedtime. If you cut out coffee from your diet completely, no longer relying on on caffeine consumption to control when you’re awake and when you’re asleep, your body will be able to reset and fall into its natural sleep cycle. You’ll fall asleep and wake up at more normal times, be able to maintain a regular sleep schedule, and will wake up feeling more refreshed.
4. You might get headaches.
Symptoms of caffeine withdrawal, such as headaches, can start to appear about 12 to 24 hours after you stop drinking caffeine. The worst of it will occur one to two days into your coffee-free week. To cope with withdrawal symptoms, drink lots of water and supplement your diet with small meals that are filled with fiber, protein and healthy carbohydrates. If you have unbearable migraines, consider taking Ibuprofen or blocking out a part of your day for a nap.
5. You’ll have mood swings.
Without your daily cup(s) of coffee, you’ll likely be a lot more irritable and prone to mood swings. As a result, your productivity might take a hit in the first few days you’re coffee-free. Be sure to start your day with a refreshing shower, drink lots of water and hit the gym to mentally and physically set yourself up for being constructive and efficient. Try to keep a positive attitude, if at all possible — the worst of it will be over within a few days.
6. You’ll be more in tune with your body — namely, how much it depends on caffeine.
Swearing off coffee for just a week can open your eyes to how much your body physically and mentally depends on it. If you decide to start drinking it again after a week, your weeklong coffee cleanse can help you refocus on your body’s actual needs so you don’t return to a coffee-addicted, zombie-like state. If you don’t want to depend on coffee so much but don’t want to quit caffeine entirely, consider drinking tea instead. It has much less caffeine than coffee and won’t result in the jitters, and it’s less acidic than coffee so it won’t upset your stomach as much.