Anyone who drinks coffee knows it’s addictive. Of course, it’s also delicious and allows you to not fall asleep during your morning class, so many of us live dangerously with regards to caffeine. However, anyone who has ever skipped their daily joe will know, there are sometimes painful side-effects that come along with that day off.
Like headaches that feel like your skull is about to implode.
Science now tells us the addictive nature is why you get a headache when you skip your coffee. Once you start drinking it regularly, it is easy to become dependent on it. Most coffee drinkers will tell you that they can’t function properly without their daily coffee. We certainly can’t.
If it makes you feel any better, there is actual and legitimate science behind why you feel so awful if you skip your regular java. Caffeine sticks to the receptors in your brain, and swap places with neurotransmitters called adenosine. Adenosine generally keeps you calm, and we know that since caffeine is a stimulant, it does the opposite and that’s why you don’t feel sleepy.
As a result, your brain begins to overcompensate and produce extra adenosine to counteract the effects of the caffeine. So, if for some reason you begin to lessen the amount of caffeine you normally have, your body is still overcompensating for those blocked receptors and making more adenosine.
BUT now that some of those receptors are being unblocked, your brain is being attacked by sleep inducing chemicals. So then you start having some seriously gnarly side effects. You are super sleepy, you’re feeling sluggish, and yes, you get that headache. That is why drinking something with caffeine like a soda or coffee makes the headache go away.
While you shouldn’t exceed 4 (or 5) 8 ounce cups of coffee a day, you can always cut down. It is recommended that you taper off as opposed to going cold turkey, or you may suffer more. The headaches, while frustrating, will subside after a few days, but more serious side effects like chronic insomnia could occur.
But don’t count us off the coffee-wagon just yet.