Decaf diaries

Going in

In an attempt to resensitize myself to caffeine, I’ve decided to go without it for a while. I also hope that this can help me improve my sleep quality, which has been consistently shit for the past few years.

Day 1 (7/5/2022)

I am writing this in the morning of Day 2, so I will recount the whole day.

Day 2 (7/6/2022)

Originally, I planned to go on a short run in the morning, since I expected to wake up early. I haven’t run regularly since last fall, due to SI joint issues, which would be exacerbated by running, but I haven’t had any pain in a while and have been considering getting back into it. I thought today would be the day, but nope. I did wake up at about 5am, but I was in a total haze and fell back asleep shortly after. I woke up briefly a couple more times, but remained in this overwhelming haze. Eventually, I dragged myself out of bed shortly before 8am. Running was not in the cards for me.

Day 3 (7/7/2022)

I slept fairly well, despite the alcohol and the lack of melatonin. I still woke up multiple times throughout the night, which is normal for me, but had no issues falling back asleep. I woke up “definitively” around 7am and immediately noticed that the groggy haze was not there. So looks like it was melatonin all along.

Day 4 (7/8/2022)

I slept normally, which for me means waking up a few times (one of them around 5am and for longer, long enough to start scrolling through my phone), but falling back asleep eventually, doing a couple of bathroom trips, having weird-ass dreams. The /juːʒ/.

Day 5 (7/9/2022)

Still low energy. No ostensible improvements in sleep quality so far.

Day 6 (7/10/2022)

I am really starting to doubt if it’s worth it. My workout yesterday was very low volume and low intensity for me, and yet I feel a bit sore. I don’t normally get DOMS, unless I introduce a new type of stimulus or really ramp up the volume.

Day 7 (7/11/2022)

I went bouldering again today and actually felt pretty good energy-wise throughout the session. It wasn’t a very long session, but it was a productive one. I even had energy to do some dynamic moves, like this powerful deadpoint start:

Day 10 (7/14/2022)

I skipped two days, because there wasn’t anything interesting to report really. I am getting used to the decaf routine. My energy levels aren’t that bad throughout the day, but I still lack the energy and strength during my lifting sessions. I’ll come in all ready and energized and will feel good during the warm-up, but then the first heavy set crushes me hard, and I just can’t handle the volume and intensity I am normally able to.

Day 15 (7/19/2022)

It’s been two full weeks. I finished the two bags of crappy-to-mediocre decaf coffee I got from regular grocery stores (those around here normally only have one brand of decaf coffee in stock, and it would be of the cheaper kind) and, finally, got some better decaf coffee yesterday from the small store across the street that sells a lot of imported goods (shout out to Rosenhoff Dagligvare — not sponsored). They had several decaf options, but once I saw the bag that said ‘Masha Estate’ on it, I knew it was a sign. This coffee is indeed better than what I had before, but still a bit flat. I miss the taste of real coffee so much, I crave it all the time.

A paper bag of coffee on a kitchen counter in front of a coffee maker and a coffee grinder. The label on the bag says: ‘Swiss water process. Koffeinfri. Masha Estate. Etiopia. 250g hele bønner. Koffeinfri kaffe med god, kremet fylde, frisk syrlighet. Hint av jordbær, honning og mango i smaken.’
The ‘Masha Estate’ decaf coffee from Rosenhoff Dagligvare

Day 16 (7/20/2022)

Hm, I am starting to wonder if that new decaf coffee I bought is, in fact, fully decaf. I’ve been feeling quite restless ever since I started drinking it yesterday, had a bit of a trouble falling asleep last night, and my resting heart rate is way higher than normal. It is true, though, that these two days have also been very hectic and stressful for me (things are finally moving on the Konstanz front, visa-wise and apartment-wise, but that means even more anxiety). But then again, my gym performance yesterday might suggest that I might have ingested a not insubstantial amount of caffeine.

Day 25 (7/29/2022)

It’s been more than three weeks, and I believe my new decaf routine has completely stabilized. By now I think it’s safe to say that my sleep has not improved in any ostensible way, and indeed, it was better back when I took melatonin and consumed caffeine. My gym performance is completely back to normal, and, in fact, today I finally hit those coveted 120kg on the sumo deadlift:

Day 27 (7/31/2022)

My period started yesterday, and I feel like my cramps are worse than they’ve been in a while. I always have to take ibuprofen during the first 1.5–2 days of my period, but this time around I’ve had to take more than usual. Caffeine is an analgesic adjuvant, so this checks out.

Day 35 (8/8/2022)

Today is the day. Today I am starting to strategically reintroduce caffeine into my life. I am planning to have one 11oz mug of filtered coffee before my workout and will report back once I return from the gym.

Final thoughts

So, was it worth it?

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