Going caffeine-free: Is it worth it?
Is It Worth Going Caffeine Free?
So, one of our Tea Reps decided to set herself a little challenge... A tea challenge! Abbey, an Earl Grey & black tea lover, challenged herself to go caffeine free for an entire month!!! Find out how she felt, the benefits she saw and if she's going to stick with it!
An Intro From Abbey
It’s something that tea-lovers might not dwell on, we occupy a comfortable moral high-ground, sipping our Earl Grey and tutting almost inaudibly at the hyperactivity of the coffee consumers as they buzz by us. Our beverage of choice is certainly less caffeinated than theirs in most instances, but this should not mean that we don’t pay attention to how much we drink and what we are drinking.
One month ago, I would easily get through ten cups of black tea (of varying types and shapes) in a day. Spending a day in the office or working from home, I would be drinking exclusively tea. Not only was this a pain for toilet breaks (terrible for concentration), I also wasn’t sleeping well, my heartbeat would quicken and skip a few beats randomly. I would wake up several times in the night and be unable to get back to sleep. I would feel anxious and easily-stressed by small things.
So, I decided one night, while lying awake questioning my own existence, that I would cut out caffeine for a tester month. If I survived, I could once more evaluate the said existence and decide whether the switch was worthwhile.
I should add that this decision did not materialize from thin air — I had already cut out coffee and refined sugar a year before, with really positive results. The full-blown caffeine-free push would be more of an upgrade than a completely new mindset.
But that didn’t change one key factor in all of this: I love tea.
I live on it. It gets me up in the morning, it comforts me when I’m feeling down, or so I thought.
Luckily, I am also an Instagram rep for Bird & Blend, which meant I could send an early-morning email off to the lovely Krisi to ask her advice on which teas were caffeine-free, which tasted like my beloved black tea, or could be used as a replacement.
I’m about little life changes, not full-blown habit revolutions.
With Krisi’s advice in mind and a package from Bird & Blend on the way to sunny Germany, I was ready to start one of the busiest months of my year so far. Without caffeine.
The First Week Of Being Caffeine Free
For anyone going caffeine dry, the first thing you should know is that the first week is utter hell. I’ve spoken to a lucky few who did not experience this as dramatically as I did, but I am also fairly sure they drank normal human amounts of tea and not the ten cups a day that I was used to.
Other than dull, throbbing headaches and overall exhaustion, the most bizarre thing about my first few days caffeine-free was how unbelievably thirsty I was. Not thirsty as in: I needed a cuppa. Thirsty as in I could literally down a pint of water right now. I started drinking gallons of the stuff, morning, noon and night. Where I would usually take a thermos of tea for the journey into work, I’d be taking a litre bottle of water instead.
Feeling The Benefits Of Going Caffeine Free
Once the — horrendous — first week was through, I started noticing some behavioural changes. Waking up in the morning became shockingly easy. I’d usually snooze my alarm at least three times before dragging myself out of bed, bleary-eyed and grumpy. But now waking up feels strangely clean-cut, as though there is an actual divide between waking and sleeping, with no horrible purgatory in the middle.
Getting to sleep is far easier too. I can’t remember a time when I’ve fallen asleep before my partner (he is semi-narcoleptic), but now it’s happening. On a regular basis.
I’m dreaming much more vividly (which is as fun as it is distracting) and I’m sleeping right up until the moment my alarm goes off. If I’ve accidentally set my alarm at the weekends, I’m now, miraculously, able to fall straight back to sleep again afterwards. No tossing and turning and hating myself for leaving my alarm on. Just… Sleep.
Reflecting On Being Caffeine Free
As much as the benefits of going caffeine free are obvious, a little pick-me-up now and then doesn’t hurt. Now that I’ve managed a whole month (with several false starts when tempted by Bird & Blend black tea blends in my cupboard) without caffeine, I can honestly say that a cleanse was worth it. The benefits that I’ve noticed just keep growing:
- Sleeping is easier
- My heartbeat is more regular (I have always been prone to sudden flutters and drops in blood pressure which have nothing to do with romantic gestures)
- My skin is clearer (probably as a result of drinking more water generally)
- I’m less irritable (probably thanks to the sleep)
- Also less anxious, less prone to sudden dips in my ability to cope with life
- I’m more productive and more able to concentrate during the day
- I’m eating better (by which I mean more)
- I’m more energetic, more fun, more able to socialise and interact
I have made a commitment to maintaining a drastically reduced caffeine intake, cutting the amount of black tea I drink down to three teabags (or strainers) a week. My theory is that I can spread them out so as not to get addicted or dependent again.
The replacement teas (mostly rooibos, but also some fairytale flavours from Bird & Blend’s July Subscription Box) have been incredible, my personal favourite is Bird & Blend’s Mint Choc Rooibos which is just as creamy and tart as my usual English Breakfast. Nuts About You was also incredible, but unlike anything I’d tasted before.
Anyone considering reducing their caffeine definitely should. And they should definitely check out Bird & Blend’s caffeine free teas to help the transition. If I can go from ten cups of black tea a day, to just three a week, anything is possible.