Caffeine: the drug of choice for many Americans

Caffeine is used by millions of Americans every day.

TL/TR – watch a short video instead.

It is found in many drinks including coffee, tea, energy drinks, and soft drinks. Caffeine can help to decrease fatigue, improve mood, focus, and athletic performance.  Its main effect occurs in the brain where it blocks the effects of adenosine, which makes you feel tired and relaxed. While some is good, more is not always better.

Excessive caffeine intake can lead to difficulty with sleep at night by increasing the amount of time it takes to fall asleep and decreasing the total time asleep. The time of day that caffeine is consumed can influence its impact on sleep.  Caffeine can stay in your system up to eight hours after consumption, depending on the individual’s tolerance and caffeine consumption habits.

When consuming caffeine, it is important to be aware of the quantity of caffeine and the time of taking you are taking in to still get a quality night of sleep. Getting enough sleep each night is important for long-term health and cutting back on caffeine may be an easy way to improve sleep quality. Cutting back on caffeine for regular consumers can lead to some negative side effects including headache, fatigue, poor concentration, and irritability.

Some tips to help minimize side effects while cutting back on caffeine:

  • Cut back slowly: The body is used to its regular amount of caffeine each day and significantly reducing intake can increase the side effects.
  • Drink plenty of fluids: Getting enough water throughout the day is important. Dehydration can make symptoms like headaches and fatigue worse.
  • Move frequently: Getting up and moving around for a short period of time can be as beneficial as another cup of coffee to improve your energy and concentration levels.

Caffeine has many great benefits but it is important to continue to monitor your relationship with it.

Taking a break or cutting back can help reduce the amount of caffeine needed to get those excellent benefits.

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