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Why Quitting Coffee Tends to Give You a Headache

Why Quitting Coffee Tends to Give You a Headache Top view of cup of brewed black coffee arranged with plenty of brown beans and green coffee leaves.

What happens with our bodies when we’re quitting coffee? Or just skipping it? Why does it give us the mother of all headaches? As usual, science has an answer for us and it’s pretty straightforward.

I usually build my life around always being able to have coffee when I need it. I have started drinking it when I was a teenager and it’s always been the same for me: once I cannot have one until 10, maximum 11 am, I get a splitting headache that gets progressively worse and worse. 

That’s because I am a total addict when it comes to coffee. My body is so used to it and it always wants its dose. Its progressively large dose, since to be honest, caffeine does nothing for me anymore. I just love the taste and want to avoid the headache if I skip it.

And everyone who’s ever tried quitting coffee ran into the same brick wall of a headache. It’s extremely hard to quit cold turkey. Especially with the added bonuses of being way too easy to get annoyed, and feeling damned exhausted all the time. Still, we have some tips for you, if you’re planning to do that.

Why Quitting Coffee Tends to Give You a Headache

Four 8-ounce coffee cups are the maximum caffeine dose you should have every day.

What science says about quitting coffee

Caffeine tends to stick to the receptors of your brain, and t does that by taking the place of a neurotransmitter called adenosine. What are neurotransmitters, you might ask? They’re the chemicals that transport messages between synapses in your brain. Adenosine is a neurotransmitter which keeps you calm and cool, while caffeine works in the opposite way.

So when you’re quitting coffee, your brain doesn’t get what’s going on and creates extra adenosine. This makes you long for more sleep and also gives you that headache that we know so well from sad days when coffee is far away.

So should you quit coffee? Well, only if you’re having huge sleep problems. And if you’re having more than four 8-ounce cups every day, then maybe stick within this guideline and don’t overdo it with the coffee.

But going cold turkey might prove to be a painful challenge. So maybe just try to drink progressively less coffee every day over a longer time frame? This will make it so much easier on yourself. And also try these alternatives to coffee, if you’re quitting. They might make things simpler for ou. 

I’m a pop culture nerd who thinks too much about fried bacon, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and life, the Universe and everything. I love food and sometimes you can see that on my hips, but I don't care that much about that.
What I do care more about is trying to eat healthier, even though I admit that I like to indulge in my food fantasies. I’m addicted to puns, so forgive me for that when you read my articles. I now know too much about nutrition to be fun to hang out with. So long and thanks for all the fish-based omega-3 fatty acids.

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