Friday, March 27, 2009


Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant. It's one of the most popular drugs in the world, consumed by up to 90% of people in the world in one form or another, but mostly in beverages. It is a naturally occurring substance found in plants like cocoa beans, tea leaves, and kola nuts.

  • Caffeine is a diuretic. Caffeine prompts the body to lose water through urination. This can lead to dehydration and is the reason that caffeinated drinks are not a good idea when working out or doing other activities that require fluids. In fact, it is suggested that you add 8 ounces of water for every cup of coffee you drink.
  • Caffeine can cause you to feel jittery, skittish, restless, excitable or anxious. It can temporarily speed the heart rate. If you're feeling stressed out, then a cup of coffee can exacerbate, rather than help, this feeling. Too much caffeine can hurt a person's ability to concentrate, making it difficult to study.
  • Caffeine can cause insomnia. It can be very hard to fall asleep when you take a lot of caffeine. This is especially true if you take it at night, but is also true of higher doses earlier in the day.
  • Caffeine at high doses can cause headaches.
Remember that caffeine is addictive. If you feel like you can't get going in the morning, feel overtired during the day from not having caffeine, or get headaches when you try to stop taking caffeine regularly, these are signs of dependence.

If you're having trouble sleeping, feel like you are consuming too much caffeine or you don't like the effects of caffeine on your body, here are some suggestions for quitting or cutting back:

  • Switch to decaffeinated beverages, or to a mixture of decaffeinated and regular coffee.
  • Reduce the number of caffeinated drinks you have every day. If you have coffee in the morning and a Coke in the afternoon, try skipping the Coke and replace it with water or juice.
  • Brew tea for a shorter time. The less time you brew it, the less caffeine it will contain. Try herbal teas which usually don't contain caffeine.

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