Being sleepy used to be like torture for me. It primarily happened around 3 or 4pm (duh, when it happens to most everyone) and it hit me like a ton of bricks. The worst was being sleepy and needing to pick up the kids from school. All I wanted was a few minutes to close my eyes and lay down and recover from the fucking day and instead I had to deal with cranky kids who also probably needed a nap but instead we'd be barreling down the freeway sniping at each other and hating all of it.
This led to a pretty decent caffeine and sugar addiction on my part. I mean, I've always had a nice sugar addiction going (Davies motto: dessert after every meal!) but the caffeine addiction just got progressively worse over the years.
Worse for me, anyway. I wasn't ever hooked onto the triple espressos every afternoon or anything. But I was pretty well convinced I couldn't get out of bed in the morning without coffee, felt bitchy if I didn't have my afternoon cup, and got nasty headaches if I missed either one.
I was reading the book Skinny Bitch last month, though, and it made some pretty interesting suggestions about caffeine and its affects on the body. You know me and the summer diet books. I have to read one every year or I shrivel up and die. Their message wasn't anything new, really: I've read plenty of books that suggest there are negative affects to caffeine addiction, but I never really entertained giving it up. Here's what I reasoned:
1) I could never, ever give up caffeine and don't you even try to make me or I'll kill you.
2) "Some studies show" a little caffeine everyday is actually good for you. I probably read this in one of those magazines my mom sent down.
3) I don't drink that much, compared to some people.
4) I keep my addiction affordable by reheating our drip coffee (I know, gross).
5) I don't have very many drugs and caffeine is my favorite and if you take it away I'll kill you.
But then, without a lot of fanfare or will power, I just sort of gave it up. I drink--sigh, I know, granola--decaf green tea instead. Here is what I've noticed:
1) I still get some afternoon sleepies now and then. I'm having one right now. But they are much less debilitating than they used to be. And the coffee never made them go away anyway.
2) I can really enjoy a strong cup of coffee now and then (I've had one in the last six weeks). In fact, the enjoyment is way greater now that I don't need it and don't have it every day.
3) My sugar cravings have decreased some. Somehow, it always just made sense to pair coffee with a baked good or chocolate. Imagine that.
4) Still, I haven't lost any weight from quitting. So that part might be hooey.
5) I pee my pants less. Like, a lot less. Like, I can run some miles without having to stop and pee. That's awesome.
But here's the biggest thing: I've had to come to terms with my sleepiness. And by that, I mean that, alongside the giving up of the coffee is an accompanying commitment to chilling out more. That has happened veeeeeerrrrry slowly and organically and over time, but working with less, shall we say, intensity, has made it so that if I'm a little sleepy in the afternoon, I lay down for a few minutes. I don't sleep often--I'm not a huge fan of naps because they make me groggy. But I definitely sit my ass down and do nothing for a bit. And, pretty quick, the sleepiness goes away and I go on about my day until my next little rest period.
Don't get me wrong. I'm still a little bit of a bouncing ball. But this rest thing is good stuff. It feels an awful lot like freedom.