3 Reasons to avoid caffeine during your CFS recovery
I know. That is the most dreadful title. No one wants to think about coffee having the potential to be anything but a superhero. Coffee is delicious, energising and even brings a confidence boost. It’s no wonder people have Instagram accounts dedicated to coffee (don’t lie, I know you’ve taken a latte art photo before).
If you’re reading this, and deal with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome hopefully are ready to give up the caffeine addiction and give your healing journey a bit of a reboot.
Here are three reasons that it’s essential to avoid caffeine on during CFS recovery:
1.Caffeine increases stress!
Caffeine causes an increase in blood sugar as well as the release of adrenaline and cortisol, two stress hormones in the body. While these feel helpful temporarily, they actually interfere with our bodies natural release of hormones and authentic energy. In a healthy body, unburdened by the effects of caffeine, one would have the most energy upon waking and as the day progresses, the energy would slowly diminish until the sun sets and it’s time for sleep. Caffeine interferes with our natural wake and sleep rhythm by encouraging large surges of stress hormones to be released at inappropriate times of the day.
When these stress hormones are released too often, or in large doses, it causes inflammation in the body leading to hormonal problems, loss of muscle mass, decreased bone density, lowered immunity and more. All certainly not helpful for one healing from CFS.
2.It is addictive:
While caffeine can feel helpful and even necessary at times it is an addictive substance. Each time it is consumed it stimulates the brain to produce the neurotransmitter dopamine which block adenosine receptors. Adenosine allows us to feel tired and enhance sleep. This dopamine release inhibits our ability to produce healthy, energising neurotransmitters naturally, leading to the craving for more and more caffeine.
So what qualifies as caffeine addiction? Do you need a coffee or tea to start the day? Maybe you crave another around 3:00 pm? Do you feel tired or get a headache without it? Those are all signs of dependence, and while it may not seem like a big deal I can assure you, it will cause damage in the long run.
3.It inhibits sleep:
After caffeine is consumed, it typically circulates the blood for at least 4 hours. The stress hormones that it encourages inhibit the brain from entering into a deep sleep. Like perviously mentioned, caffeine also blocks adenosine receptors which give signals of tiredness. As we know, sleep is crucial in any healing journey, so any substance that compromises deep rest should ultimately be avoided.
Maybe you think you already sleep well, you’re not addicted and certainly don’t deal with stress. I believed all of these about myself until I took the plunge and gave up caffeine. I was shocked to see how much better I felt overall. My sleep improved, I felt more focused and naturally began to have higher, and more steady energy levels throughout the day. If you’re on a journey to increase energy overall, giving up caffeine is a great place to start!
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Blog post by Heather Tupps – CFS Health nutritionist.