How Quitting Caffeine Transformed My Life

quitting caffeine

Freedom is that faculty which enlarges the usefulness of all other faculties.

– Immanuel Kant

As a yogi and meditation teacher, I consider myself to be relatively aware of my body’s signals and the ramblings of my mind. But if you follow a similar path, you know that there are always hidden recesses of the self that remain to be uncovered. It took me a long time to be willing to take an honest look at my dependence on caffeine. This is the story of how finally quitting caffeine transformed my life.

One afternoon as I was working in my office, I suddenly realized how often I was looking at my watch. I was awaiting, not a call from a loved one or an evening out with friends, but my next cup of coffee. As the sun spread its warm rays through my office window, the full force of the thought struck me: “Is this what my life has become? The high point of my afternoon is a caffeine fix?”

This moment sparked a journey to kick my coffee habit. It took me a few days to move beyond the intense headaches and mental fog of peak caffeine withdrawal, and two weeks for my body to completely realign with its natural cycles. Once I arrived on the other side of that struggle, I began to notice profound benefits as a result of being caffeine-free, some that I fully anticipated and hoped for, and a few that far exceeded my expectations.

5 Benefits of Quitting Caffeine

Here are five benefits from quitting caffeine I have experienced:

1. I sleep better.

I always believed that caffeine no longer affected my sleep, and even boasted that I could consume coffee late at night and go to bed at the usual time, but once I quit it became clear that these were the delusions of an addict. As I moved beyond the agony of withdrawal, I began to experience the deepest sleep I had had for a very long time. It turned out that even though I was able to fall asleep immediately after downing a cup of coffee, the quality of my sleep was being compromised. Caffeine-free, I remained asleep for more of the night and awoke in the morning feeling well-rested. I also practically eliminated the urge for an afternoon siesta.

2. I am tuned into the needs of my body.

Until I stopped drinking coffee, I had no idea how often I was pushing through the needs of my body without paying them any attention. Instead of resting when I was tired, I headed out to the local coffee shop for a double shot. Instead of drinking water when I was thirsty, I was subjecting myself to the diuretic effects of caffeine along with my fluid intake. When I should have been eating because my body needed energy, coffee was instead suppressing my appetite, and every time my body longed for movement and fresh air, I responded with more coffee.

Without the crutch of caffeine, I was forced to pay more attention to what my body needed – and, it turned out, that sleep, exercise, food, water, and meditation satisfied most of the needs that coffee was merely glossing over. And as a bonus, when I truly listen to what my body needs, I stay satisfied for longer and feel healthier and happier.

3. I experience less stress, and cope with it better.

Now that I no longer drink coffee, I find I am much more relaxed at work. When challenges arise, as they inevitably do, I am able to remain calm and address them without succumbing to the stress. I feel less rushed and overwhelmed as I go through my day, and am able to maintain my focus more consistently and for longer periods of time. Meditation and yoga continue to be the cornerstone of my strategy for dealing with difficult situations, but I now find them to be more effective than they were during my coffee drinking days.

4. I incorporate healthier ways of maintaining my focus and energy levels.

For many years, instead of being powered by the energy of the rising sun and excitement for the day ahead, I relied on a pot of coffee to launch me into my morning and to propel me through the many energy dips I experienced every day. Since kicking my coffee habit, not only is my energy more stable, but I utilize much healthier strategies when I require a bit of a boost. I start my day with meditation and a brisk walk and go to the gym regularly after work. I’ve also rebooted my yoga practice, and find that breathing exercises and a few yoga poses can be really helpful if I’m feeling sleepy or unfocused during my day.

5. I am more present and feel more alive.

I was shocked to discover that caffeine was creating a barrier between myself and the ability to be present in the moment. However, once I was no longer drinking it, I noticed that my meditations improved. You may say it is my imagination, but I also felt that my vision and sense of hearing were sharper. It is as though I have regained the ability to fully experience life as it is, rather than through the lens of my addiction. As I have slowed down and begun to truly pay attention to how I’m feeling, I have received an unexpected gift: the full, unadulterated freedom of being alive.

What benefits from quitting caffeine have you experienced?

28 thoughts on “How Quitting Caffeine Transformed My Life”

  1. Its nice to know how quitting caffeine can help us in our daily life. Initial suffering may be present, but the rewards are good later.

    1. Thank you. The initial suffering was definitely intense, but it was worth it. It can be helpful to have the potential benefits in mind to keep up one’s motivation during the most difficult period of withdrawal.

      1. Thanks for this article. I quit caffeine 1 week ago. I’ve done this before and remember how good I felt after quitting coffee. Somehow I would get lured back into drinking it (my ex husband drank it and the smell was too tempting for my newly broken addiction). This time I plan to stick to it for good. As I approach 40, I noticed the brown freckle (liver spots) under my eyes and upper cheeks and my skin always looked dehydrated. I have noticed a difference in just 1 week of quitting! Also the jitters have almost completely stopped. My anxiety has greatly decreased in this short time (from the sleepiness that set in from withdrawal!) I’m excited about the rest of my life being addiction free. Just like drinking alcohol damages our bodies, I see that chronic coffee drinking can have that similar effect on many of us. It causes high blood pressure and both my mom and grandmother take medication for this and are chronic coffee drinkers. It’s amazing how coffee has crept through time to be one of the most desired and sought after drugs in the world. And yet, millions of people are operating on it as we speak. Drinking coffee is truly like living in a rat race. I’m so happy to be out of that cycle and back on track with my life journey.

    1. I am glad to read another article about the benefits of quiting coffee. When searching for articles about coffee, there are plenty about the benefits of a cup of coffee rather than quiting. I am myself on a 3 weeks journey without coffee, after a six month dentist visit for plaque removal. Tired of visiting the dentist and the pain I have throughout the process, I decided to quit the major culpit. Not to mention I started to experience lots of restless nights and some stomach problems. With only 2 cups per day, both before 3 PM , still had these bad nights, restless and irritated to every sound my neighbors did. After 3 weeks I can definitely say that my sleep improved, I am able to sleep at least 5 hours without turning and waking up, I feel calmer and will go on to see these benefits you mention in your article. I am convinced will experience even greater benefits with time passing. Couple of days I passed by a coffee shop and the fresh smell of coffee did not left me with watery mouth. I recall also those countless hours spent in airports drinking coffee, however still feeling even more exhausted. And I did not even like that coffee. It is even hard to find that good coffee and it is expensive like hell. You need an expensive machinery etc. No more, I am tired of all that process.

  2. I wish I could quit caffeine, but I regret to say that I cannot see it happening any time soon. I quit nicotine not so long back though, and for me that was a major milestone.

    1. It has always been hard for me to drop habits slowly. I tend to need to go cold turkey as it is easier for my mentality to cut something out of my life completely than to try to moderate it. I smoked long enough to get addicted and tried to quit via moderation but it never stuck. I had to make the commitment to myself to quit for 25 years! That way I could forget about it completely…well, at least for 25 years.

  3. This is something I need to work on. It’s a tough one to give up. Another benefit to quitting caffeine tho, is that is helps those who struggle with adrenal fatigue issues. Caffeine artificially ‘whips’ the adrenals into action, thus exhausting them further. The whole stress reaction thing, chemically. Great article!

  4. Hi McKeever, I’m so happy you got over this addiction. Indeed the pressure is intense at first when you try to quit any addiction, but persistence eventually pulls through. I’m glad you made progress.

    1. Do you think that after quitting caffeine one should completely avoid caffeine forever?—like an alcoholic.

      Or, for those who love the taste of coffee and not just the buzz, is it probably fine to enjoy an occasional cup?

      Thank you.

  5. What a great post. I think because caffeine is legal and in vogue people do not realise how beneficial it would be to give up. Glad you managed to do it! keep up the good work. Inspiring.

  6. It has been two years now since i quit having caffine/Coffee and it was easy for me so far.Apart from avoiding the caffeine there is the hidden benefit of not consuming a spoonful of white sugar,which is as evil as caffeine.
    I haven’t seen any health benefits so far,but i love saying no to the free cup of coffee in the office.

  7. Yes, hardest part is the first 2 weeks cause it will always (during that time) feel better to go back to coffee than to stay off it; BUT, if you can get through that then focus on the benefits you are feeling and add something new into your life that gives you joy. I bought a bike and did 30 minutes of riding after work instead of getting coffee.

  8. It’s so wierd, but when I started work 14 years ago, I saw a guy drink loads, and I copied him. It was such a buzz….until I realised, years down the line, that I had insomnia and panic attacks, bought on by years of abuse…these days, I am very careful, when it comes to coffee. I still enjoy the odd cup, but I am slowly moving on from it. And if it is a choice between average sleep (if you’re lucky;-) and a cuppa, versus no coffee and deeper skeep, I know which one I would go for. That, meditation, and exercise, and my body is becoming more alive.

    1. What a great testimonial to getting back to “original body.” We don’t realize how strong the drugs are and what an effect they have. We get used to the chemical high and forget about the natural high that exists in each of us.

  9. Hi! Thanks for this account of your experience. I recently started to quit caffeine as I am a headache sufferer and think this will help. I never consumed too much coffee or caffeine though, maybe a cup a day. My main question is about tea. Do you lump that in when you say you’re off caffeine or is it possible to add in occasional green teas? I have already experienced the withdrawal headache I think and want to know if it’s sometimes ok to go to tea or even my old friend excedrin (which has caffeine in it) when I have a headache, or will this start the whole process over again?

  10. This is exactly what I experienced when I gave up caffeine around 12 years ago. I’ve never looked back and the few times I’ve had a tiny bit of caffeine in a drink or dessert I can really feel the effects immediately and the next day- almost like a hangover. The plusses!-Waking up with energy, not feeling stressed all the time- the ‘busy’ that everyone talks about?! That’s caffeine I believe. I’m able to cope with very stressful situations without the panic, think clearly and put things in perspective. You are exactly right when talking about sharper senses too-the caffeine for me brought on a flight or fight response that naturally dulled any bodily functions that were not strictly necessary. It all makes sense. Some of us are more sensitive to this drug than others, like anything, you need to listen to your body and moderate. It’s a very powerful drug and should be treated with respect.

  11. Thanks for the article. I am on day five of no caffeine and am in a huge fog and very weary. I quit nicotine about four months ago. The health benefits were so profound and the freedom so great that I decided to quit caffeine as well. For years I started every day with a five dollar latte. About 6 weeks ago I went down to tea and experienced a lot of benefits in that transition. Five days ago I severed the remaining cord of drinking tea. I haven’t had a headache yet, probably due to merging to tea first and essentially cutting the caffeine intake in half.

    Thanks again for the inspiration! I will keep my sights on the prize of making it past a couple weeks. I love being free from addictions and like you said letting my body be tired if it needs rest. I look forward to the deep sleep.

  12. I had been drinking coffee for 40 years when 6 days ago I gave it up cold turkey. I am dealing with the headaches and fogginess still but I have no want for another cup anymore. I noticed within a day or two how much calmer I have been and I too have noticed a difference in the way I see the world and handle situations. I like this calmer person I have become. I am really excited to see what the future holds once I get past the withdrawls.

  13. i’ve only just read this, Oct ’20, but it gives me hope, that a spiritually minded person can have this dependency on coffee too. I am 76 and have always drunk coffee, not a lot every day but then I am very sensitive to it. Once, after not having it for a couple of weeks I experienced what it must be like to be tasered – after having two strong flat whites. It was horrible and scary. Yet instant coffee has no appeal whatsoever – strange. I want to be free of it and experience that freedom – this gives me hope. I want to know for myself and not just read about it. I want my original body and mind back too. Thank you.

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