I Gave Up Coffee For a Week and this is What Happened

I tried surviving a week without caffeine, a daily indulgence of mine.

I tried surviving a week without caffeine, a daily indulgence of mine. My major assignment grades are pending, but the signs aren’t good. Shockingly, five hours of sleep a night and no coffee didn’t feel like a great recipe for success while I slogged through another exhausting week at Lawrenceville.

I (probably) Failed Some Stuff: Ok, not failed, but like, Lawrenceville failed. Think below a B. Last Monday, my schedule denoted an upcoming math test, an English essay, and a Spanish quiz. Naturally, as most sane Lawrentians do, I procrastinated. Lacking inspiration, I started my essay the night before it was due. There’s no one to blame but myself, but I woke up at 5:50 AM the next day, Wednesday, and was desperate to write about Hamlet’s relationship with death. His relationship felt like a broader metaphor for my relationship with school when some odd alarm in Dickinson started beeping and forced me to Starbucks 20 minutes after waking up. Seeing everyone around me drinking tea or coffee didn’t help my already jumbled thoughts as I sleepwalked through writing the essay. It reminded me that I wanted something to drink. Writing was like wading through molasses––slow—and I could’ve used some liquid inspiration. Or just the healthy 40 grams of sugar in every Starbucks latte. I don’t think coffee makes me work any more efficiently, but I also don’t know for sure that it doesn’t. I would’ve liked a drink just in case it does and also because it tastes good. My test and quiz went similarly, although I’m not even sure I remember taking the Spanish quiz anymore.

No Midday Crashes: Normally, when I drink caffeine in misguided attempts to magically make myself productive, I crash sometime after lunch. I start slouching in class and, before long, have to go splash my face with water to stay awake. Well, this past week, I crashed all day instead. Absent the artificial hyperactivity I depend on, I nearly fell asleep in three separate morning classes between Wednesday and Friday. I’m still trying to not think about my participation grades.

I Felt More Rested When I Was Actually Able To Sleep: Not to state the obvious, but I had an easier time falling asleep this week, maybe because I wasn’t forcing Irwin tea down my throat while I tried to write an essay in one study hall. I fell asleep way faster than normal, and generally felt better rested than I would have with coffee given the same amount of sleep. On Saturday and Sunday, the two days I was able to get more than seven hours of sleep the night before, I felt well rested and didn’t crash whatsoever. Pretty big deal since we’re always so pressed for time and rest at Lawrenceville.

Conclusion: My little detox was a healthy reminder that forcing yourself to absentmindedly stay awake isn’t the best recipe for success, and I’m probably better off doing all my work in the morning than staying up all night. It goes without saying that caffeine’s not great for your sleeping habits, but going without it really hammered that lesson in. However, I really could’ve used some kind of boost before my math test Friday. As students, we sometimes just can’t get adequate rest while squeezed between sports, classes, and other commitments. In some cases, like my math test, caffeine serves as a better boost than nothing when overloaded with major assignments and lacking time for sleep. So, in conclusion, drinking caffeine is probably not the best habit, true, but it’s fine in moderation and, honestly, whatever keeps me alert for four classes merits using.