The Digital Shutterbug (aryx) wrote,
The Digital Shutterbug

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Caffeine Headache!

Today was the first day that I started to cut back on my caffeine consumption.
I drink an ungodly amount of Mountain Dew when I wake up--just to wake up.
You see, I'm at the point where I don't feel the effects of caffeine on my system with just 4 or 5 sodas (and I mean the Dew, with one of the highest amounts of caffeine in the soda market).
I've been drinking a six-pack or more, just in the morning before I go to work, and even then, I still feel sluggish.

But, I have a very strong suspicion that this is a primary factor of my insomniacal problems.

Once I get to work, I stop taking in caffeine, because it stays in your system for up to 16 hours (personal experience, nothing researched on how long it really stays).

I started drinking the Dew when I got into the x-ray program, 12 years ago, mostly because I was dating a classmate who drank it.

Before that, I didn't drink caffeinated soda. Let me clarify that... when I moved in with my dad when I turned 18, I stopped drinking Coca Cola because he never bought it. I went to 7-Up, and then on to Sprite (Sprite tastes better).

So anyway, when I was 23, I started drinking the Dew.
At that time, I could feel the effects of the caffeine after just drinking one.
As my body became accustomed to this, I started to drink two, just to feel the same effects.
After 12 years, drinking even a six-pack does nothing for me... that is to say, I can't feel the effects, although I know that it's doing the same thing to me.

Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it makes you go pee. The amount of water contained in the soda does not match the amount of fluids the caffeine in that soda forces your body to eliminate. That is to say, you pee out more than you take in. To adequately balance things, you need to drink an extra glass of water for every can of soda you drink. And that's on top of the base minimum you're supposed to be drinking in a day. In my climate, the recommendation of fluid intake is about a gallon a day during the Summer months. Remember, that's baseline.

For the amount of soda I drink, I should also be drinking about two gallons of water in the same 24 hour period. Now, drinking that much water is easy, if you drink it over the period of the 16 hours an average person is awake, that's a quart an hour. But still, honestly, I do not drink that much water. I'm still at the one gallon point, which is roughly a pint an hour.
Side note, when you do drink water, you should be drinking a little bit over a long period of time, not a huge amount at a time.
One sure sign that you aren't drinking water correctly is if you only drink it when you're thirsty, and you drink two or three cups at a time. Sips and swallows. Take the full hour to drink that pint, half the first half hour, the other half goes to the second half hour.

See what I'm getting at here? It's not good to try to take in all your water at once. It is best to be sipping on water all throughout the day.

Okay, back to the caffeine...

Today, mostly because it was all I had, but partly because I need to do this, I only had one can of Dew.

Now, while caffeine is nowhere along the lines of coke or crank or even alcohol, it is a drug that does weird things to your brain. First and foremost was already mentioned, it makes your system think it has too much urea in the blood, and your brain tells your kidneys to work harder to expel it, thus making you pee more often. It is also a stimulant. It makes your brain work harder, which isn't always a good thing. Granted, it gives you that awake feeling, and makes you feel like you have more energy. Like speed, it keeps you awake. And if you didn't know, lack of sleep actually causes brain damage. It needs to rest, too, you know.
Now, I don't know of anyone who has become schizo due to lack of sleep from caffeine consumption, but, theoretically, anything is possible. Anxiety, which can take a number of forms and rear its head with different faces, is certainly a major problem (are you paying attention mom?) Other physiological problems may include high blood pressure.

So, I really find that I feel I need to start cutting back on this caffeine thing.
As many of you know, when you drink as much caffeine as I say I do, cutting back like this does something horrible. It gives you the worst (apart from migraine) headaches you may encounter. Headaches which are vague and general, meaning they affect the entire head, not just one side or the other, front, back, left, right, or whatever.

This is because your brain is so used to a particular level of caffeine, that when it is denied that level, it doesn't know what to do. Brain cells work overtime to try to figure the problem out, changes rhythms in your system, changes your metabolism, etc.
And what a headache that can give you. This headache, unfortunately, has only one cure. To replenish that caffeine.

And, the whole entire reason I just wrote all this out is because I am suffering from one hellofa caffeine headache right now.
I know that advil, tylenol, and even aspirin will do nothing to help, so why even bother?
After a few days, your brain starts getting used to the lack of caffeine, and the headache will diminish.
As I said, I had only one Dew today.
I will try again tomorrow not to drink more than that, and the same goes for the next day and the next day.
Over time, I hope to wean myself, and go back to Sprite and other non-caffeinated drinks.

Thank you, and goodnight!

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