"Coffee is a social binder, a warmer of tongues, a soberer of minds, a stimulant of wit, a foiler of sleep if you want it so."


Spiritual Wellness

"Coffee is a social binder, a warmer of tongues, a soberer of minds, a stimulant of wit, a foiler of sleep if you want it so."

 

Though the author of the above quote is unknown, they provide a poignant commentary on many people's relationship with coffee. Coffee seems to have the ability to boost our energy and motivation, but it does so sometimes at the expense of sleep. Caffeine provides the fuel for the modern world. It's what helps a lot of us remain awake, alert, and productive. But has caffeine use gone too far, and could it perhaps be hurting our physical, emotional, or even spiritual health?

 

The short answer to whether or not caffeine is bad for you is "no." It is generally accepted that ingesting moderate amounts of caffeine daily does not pose any significant health risks. In fact, a few preliminary studies even seem to suggest that caffeine consumption can decrease the risk for Parkinson's disease and certain types of cancers.

 

However, caffeine quickly results in dependence, and can produce withdrawal symptoms as well. The effects of addiction, dependence, and withdrawal are debated by researchers and vary widely from person to person, so here are some guidelines to help you decide if you should consider quitting:

 

You should probably stop or decrease your caffeine use if...

 

1) You have trouble sleeping

 

Some coffee drinkers do not experience any disruptions to their sleep, but others find that they have trouble sleeping even if they have coffee early on in the day. If caffeine causes you to suffer from insomnia and you are looking for an alternative to boost your energy in the morning, try eating an apple, drinking a cold glass of water, or taking some ginseng extract.

 

2) You have regular headaches

 

Headaches can have a variety of causes, and do not have to be a result of your caffeine intake at all. But, if you or your doctor cannot find a reason for them, then consider going off caffeine for a while. Your headaches will probably worsen for a few days as you go through withdrawal, but if they taper off once you are no longer ingesting caffeine daily, then you've likely found the cause.

 

3) You always feel jittery

 

If you spend a lot of your time feeling jittery, nervous, and restless, then consider cutting back or eliminating your caffeine use. If you are a naturally anxious person, then caffeine might just make your anxiety worse, as it can elevate heart rate and trick your body into thinking that there is something to be nervous about.

 

No need to give up caffeine if...

 

If you do not experience any of the negative effects described above, and if you are able to keep your caffeine consumption to 1 or 2 cups of coffee a day, then there is not much reason for you to give it up if you do not want to. You can treat someone to some Starbucks and you do not have to be worried for your health.

 

Just remember that if you use caffeine in order to give you some energy and promote alertness, then it is in your best interest not to build your tolerance too much. Go ahead and enjoy a cup of coffee to wake you up, but save more heavy caffeine use for times when you really need it. That way you will not risk consuming too much, and you will still get the caffeine kick in times of need.

 

Christian men and women simply need to keep in mind what the Bible says about moderation. It is okay to enjoy things that make us feel nice, such as a sip of wine from time to time. As long as you do not overdo it and do not begin using certain substances as a crutch, then activities such as coffee drinking aren't going to cause you any harm.

 

Sources:

 

maturitas.org/article/S0378-5122(13)00047-9/abstract

 

pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/bk-2000-0754.ch009