Caffeine

In my previous life, I had a job at a wire service distributing press releases. By some stroke of luck, I was the person in charge of opening the office every morning … at 5:30.

The tiny coffee shop in the lobby didn’t open until 6, and upon seeing my listless figure round the corner, the little man who owned it would start preparing my usual: a triple-shot latte and a toasted bagel. I’d pay the nice man, attempt to form a smile and retreat to my office.

The ritual seemed harmless; the coffee was good, and the bagels were delicious. But a few months into my habit, I woke up on a Saturday morning and felt like someone had taken a pickax to my forehead. I took some Advil, sat on the couch and waited for the pain to dissipate, but it didn’t.

My mom has always woken up at the crack of dawn to a cup (or two) of black coffee. When I got my first apartment, she bought me a shiny Mr. Coffee coffeemaker, but only so that she didn’t have to forgo her morning fix when she came to visit; the splitting headaches of caffeine withdrawal are no fun.

I was forced to quit my caffeine habit cold turkey in an effort to bypass the weekend headaches. Even now I fear drinking caffeine several days in a row.

With today’s on-the-go mentality, caffeine has become a staple in many lives. For most, the benefits outweigh the dangers, but do we really know what we’re getting ourselves into? Perhaps we’re taking on too much.

Think about that the next time you reach for your morning cup. A good night’s sleep might be a better alternative.

– Missy Schwartz

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