Coffee is a morning constant for many, as reliable as the sunrise or the tides. However, when it’s removed from the equation entirely, you don’t just suffer due to routine alteration. You suffer chemically. According to Health, the side effects can be pretty noticeable and jarring. (If you like your coffee this way, you might just be a psychopath.)
Some of the more common symptoms of caffeine withdrawal stem from the inherent perks of your Central Perk Venti Redeye. You’ll feel lethargic, sluggish, less cognitively aware, and physically delayed because caffeine plays a key role in kickstarting your energy metabolism for the day and upping your motor function.
But the symptoms extend beyond that. Headaches and blood pressures dips are one of the most common and easily measured changes that go along with caffeine withdrawal. But the downsides don’t subside there. In some extreme cases, as documented by a Johns Hopkins University review, people have experienced flu-like symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, and muscle stiffness. These are the signs that you actually have the flu.
“You’re basically going through withdrawal. While you can’t become addicted to caffeine in the same sense as people become addicted to drugs, your body can become dependent on it,” says Michael J. Kuhar, Ph.D., a professor of neuropharmacology at Emory University, via Health. “And since it takes about 24 hours for caffeine to completely leave your system, it makes sense that you wake up craving it.”
In the review, researchers found that the body can experience caffeine withdrawal even if your daily consumption is on the lower end of the spectrum, just 100 mg per day. According to the Mayo Clinic, an average eight-ounce serving of coffee has between 95 and 165 mg of caffeine. The FDA recommends that healthy adults don’t exceed 400 mg of caffeine each day.
The withdrawal symptoms usually come on 12-24 hours after caffeine abstinence, will peak around 20-51 hours after your last caffeine consumption, and can last anywhere from two to nine days.
If you have a solid handle on your caffeine consumption, then keep on pounding joe in moderation. And be sure to take advantage of all the National Coffee Day deals—Some last until the end of this week! It’s probably for the best that you avoid the break room coffee anyway.