Caffeine is an integral part of many an individual’s morning or even daily routine. Some people actually have trouble opening their eyes until they’ve had their first cup of Joe, whilst others need to continually ingest it throughout the afternoon lest they hit a 3PM slump.
While caffeine has dozens of well documented health benefits (it actually improves mental acuity and helps prevent various illnesses), it is nonetheless a drug that can be abused. Ingesting too much caffeine can lead to a range of side effects, not the least of which is full blown physical dependence. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you should strongly consider cutting back on your caffeine consumption.
You Crash in the Afternoon
Caffeine is well known for giving your body a boost of energy when ingested. Unfortunately, however, your metabolism and energy levels often function comparatively; a sudden boost can often lead to a sharp crash just an hour later. If you find yourself feeling sluggish in the afternoon and need more caffeine just to keep going, you should try and wean yourself off the drug or else be dependent on it just to function properly.
You Pee Orange
Dark urine is a clear sign of dehydration. Caffeine is a diuretic, meaning it will make you urinate more and possibly lead to dehydration. Coffee doesn’t do too much to hydrate you, and caffeine laden soda does even less. You generally have to ingest a significant amount of caffeine for it to have a diuretic effect, but this can easily be done with just a few cups of coffee. If your urine is a dark color, drink water throughout the day or cut back on your coffee intake.
You Can’t Sleep or Feel Anxiety
Caffeine is an extremely strong stimulant that can affect your central nervous system. It is absorbed into your body fairly quickly (about thirty minutes to an hour), and has a very long half life. This means that it can easily affect your sleep cycle, keeping you up at night. If you have trouble dozing off once you hit the sack, try limiting your caffeine intake to before noon. Be careful, however, even decaffeinated coffee has a full third of the amount in regular coffee.
Caffeine can also make you jittery and anxious. This is often a clear sign that you are ingesting too much of it. If your heart is racing for no good reason, scale back your caffeine consumption immediately.
You Experience Heartburn
Acid reflux occurs when your esophagus allows stomach acid and food to make its way back up from your stomach. Caffeine can relax this muscle to exacerbate the condition. If you are experiencing heartburn, there is a good chance that caffeine is causing it or making it worse. Consume less caffeine, especially while you have a meal digesting, and see if there is a noticeable difference. If not, try cutting out caffeine altogether; even a small amount can often have an exponential effect with other conditions.