What Happened When I Quit Caffeine For A Month

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t consume caffeine, either in the form of soda, tea, or coffee. Since middle school, I had at least one serving every day. By the time I went to South America, I was a one-cup-a-day coffee drinker, but repeated gastrointestinal illnesses during my travels rendered my stomach sensitive, fragile, and apparently, lactose intolerant. I switched to tea instead, particularly Earl Grey. It was easier on my stomach but still packed a strong caffeine punch.

It took a couple years for me to be able to drink coffee again. I resumed my one-cup-a-day habit, usually in the form of a cappuccino, which I’d take with a lactase pill. In Europe, cappuccinos are quite small, so I started getting two a day to make up for the stinginess in portion size compared to my birth country. Then the habit turned to three a day, and some days even four. My afternoons became a build-up to the moment I’d start drinking coffee, like it was the highlight of my day.

The problem was that I gradually desensitized myself from the caffeine—I no longer felt a boost when drinking. Instead, I was drinking just to feel normal and stable. I knew I had become dependent on it, so I decided to quit caffeine cold turkey, just to see what would happen.

For the first two days I had headaches and was irritable and moody. More severely, I was constantly tired. I’d wake up at my normal time around noon, eat breakfast, work for an hour, then feel the urgent need to sleep again. I had to take daily naps to function. My body seemed to be catching up on its sleep debt, which the caffeine masked, and it wasn’t until one full week that I no longer had the urge to nap.

I carefully monitored my body for changes in the subsequent weeks. The biggest was that I was having more vivid dreams. Whereas before my dreams were short scenes, they now become full stories that seemingly lasted for hours. They were the type of dreams where upon waking you have to think for a few seconds to consider if it really was a dream or not. This suggested to me that I was experiencing a deeper sleep.

The second thing I noticed is a more constant energy level throughout the day, except for a dip around 8 hours after waking when I would feel a bit tired for an hour or so. And that’s it. The benefits were quite marginal, but enough to suggest that caffeine was disrupting my sleep cycle and causing me to mis-read signals that my body was trying to send me. This is not surprising when you consider how caffeine works.

In your brain, caffeine blocks the attachment of a molecule that builds in concentration as you get tired. This molecule attaches to a specific receptor to give you the conscious feeling of fatigue. Caffeine, by attaching to the receptor instead, prevents this feeling of fatigue, sending your body into a state of confused overdrive. The molecule doesn’t disappear while caffeine hogs the receptor—it waits around to attach itself once the caffeine breaks down. When it does, you get a massive feeling of fatigue, often referred to as the “crash.” Therefore caffeine doesn’t create energy—it simply makes an advance on your energy stores that your body has to immediately pay back when the caffeine gets excreted in your urine (its half-life is 5 hours).

My difference in sleep quality suggested that caffeine can linger in my system for well over 8 hours, as its long half-life suggests. While it will be in concentrations too low to make you feel alert or energetic, it will be high enough to disturb your sleep.

At the end of my no-caffeine month, I decided I didn’t want to be dependent—physiologically or psychologically—on a substance just to feel normal, and would only consume caffeine infrequently and randomly like alcohol. Instead of being a habit, I make it a treat for far earlier in the day, at least 12 hours before I plan on going to sleep.

Read Next: How To Pick Up Girls In A Coffee Shop


  1. Robert K. October 23, 2013 at 9:36 am

    To stop caffeine do not go cold turkey.

    Caffeine is one of the few addictive substances that you can stop using by slowly reducing the amount taken. You will avoid the headaches Roosh describes.

    I do this at least once a year when I know I will not be able to get a regular caffeine intake (army). It takes me 5 to 7 days to slow down assumption and stop. No headache or other withdrawal symptoms.

    1. Thirty Days To X October 23, 2013 at 10:40 am

      Great, there’s a second Robert K who does all the things I do.

      The manosphere ain’t big enough for the two of us.

      But seriously, cool site. I look forward to reading more of it.

      1. Robert K. October 23, 2013 at 10:53 am

        Ah ah… great name!

        Maybe you suffer from some kind of personality disorder and I am you. Scary.

        Thank you Robert, I really appreciate it.

      2. Thirty Days To X October 23, 2013 at 10:55 am

        No problem man.

      3. Robert K. October 23, 2013 at 10:58 am

        I’ll see you around.

      4. Viceroy October 23, 2013 at 2:52 pm

        No kiss?

      5. Robert K. October 23, 2013 at 3:11 pm

        Ah ah… you made me laugh.

        Is that what your wet dreams are about?

        If yes, avoiding caffeine would not solve your problem 🙂

    2. Dan November 5, 2014 at 12:31 pm

      Hey, I quit caffeine 17 days ago cold turkey after at least 2 caffeinated beverages per day and i’m fine. the first 2 days were the worst but now i’m fine

  2. Dan-o October 23, 2013 at 9:42 am

    I quit years ago. I used to be a heavy coffee drinker. Between the shaking, stomach problems, moodiness, stained teeth, bad breath and other negative side effects…i quit cold turkey. I now have maybe a cup a month, I love the flavor. I don’t even own a coffee maker or have any coffee in the house however. I also don’t drink sodas. This is one of the best health decisions that I have ever made and I advise everyone try it.

    1. Name October 23, 2013 at 11:47 am

      Did the same as you Dan-o years ago. On top of all you mentioned, it eased my seasonal allergies as well!
      Just like you, love the taste and smell of it…

  3. 20th Level October 23, 2013 at 9:53 am

    I’ve been caffeine free going on about six months now. For me it was energy drinks. At least three or four a day. Now I don’t even drink Coke or Pepsi and its been a revelation.

    My energy level is MUCH more consistent now throughout the day. That first week quitting is a bitch though.

  4. MarkCWinters October 23, 2013 at 10:28 am

    I use to slam coffee to pull all-nighters for work and school. I’d stop consuming caffeine at noon on the second day, thinking that by the time midnight rolled around I’d crash hard, but no. I’d still have trouble sleeping even though I was knocking on 48 hours of no sleep. The stuff is stronger than you think.

  5. Seth Rose October 23, 2013 at 10:55 am

    Roosh, after reading Day Bang I’m now a fan of going to coffee shops for day gaming. However, I’m not a huge fan of coffee and don’t need the caffeine boost, but I’ll buy a cup whenever I go in there which is several times a week. Have you personally stopped going to coffee shops for day gaming because of trying to break the caffeine habit or have you found a way to reconcile it?

    1. Roosh_V October 23, 2013 at 11:05 am

      I drink herbal tea or indulge in a piece of cake. Sometimes I just buy a bottle of water to establish squatting rights.

      1. anonymous October 23, 2013 at 4:51 pm

        Agree with all this.

        Herbal tea, herbal iced tea (Starbucks Passion Fruit Ice Tea unsweetened), occasional hot chocolate ‘skinny style’, bottled water, or even a croissant/bagel, to avoid the caffeine.

      2. G Real October 23, 2013 at 7:03 pm

        I always drink unsweetened Green tea,
        The occasional iced coffee frappucino or chia tea frappucino, or indulge Ina new baked good I haven’t tried. I hate conventional foods and am always trying new goods. I love Russian cakes- those women can bake.
        Favorite chain is Jamba Juice but its not a good place to approach but its the best day drink for cash going.

      3. Ali87 October 23, 2013 at 5:09 pm

        Dude, try black tea with milk and a little bit of honey, most of us middle eastern guys love that 🙂

  6. joe October 23, 2013 at 11:58 am

    There are various claimed health benefits to daily coffee or tea consumption. Coffee supplies a big dose of antioxidants, and there are various observational studies indicating coffee is neuroprotective; lower MS and dementia rates and so forth.

  7. Jeb October 23, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Good, concise article; thanks. I’ll show it to my two nephews, who down coffee and Red Bull like water, then wonder why they can’t concentrate in class after being wired and sleepless all night. When I’ve suggested green tea, which I drink, they look at me like I’m a wuss. Maybe Roosh’s words can penetrate their dense young skulls.

  8. wargasm October 23, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    Allow me to play devils advocate.

    I never drank coffee up until a few months ago and it has greatly increased my ability to function in the morning. Without coffee I wake up late and feel groggy for hours afterwards. I would often have the most energy around 10 p.m, which isn’t conducive to getting much work done.

    I’m naturally low energy though, and maybe I haven’t become desensitized to its effects yet.

    1. Scott Worthington October 25, 2013 at 7:14 am

      My experience is identical to yours, but going to bed early the night before has a strong impact too. I have some male friends who hit the hay by 10pm every night except on weekends or when not traveling and feel enormous energy in the mornings when they wake up. But I’m a semi-night owl, so I pay the price of groggy mornings and serious need for caffiene boosts.

  9. thecaptainpower October 23, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    I cant take a shit without coffee, but i switched to half decaf…

  10. dsjaio October 23, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    I think in 23andme there is a gene they test for fast or slow caffeine metabolism. If you have a slow caffeine metabolism then it will last far longer in your body than a fast one. You might have the slow version of that gene Roosh.

  11. Atlanta Man October 23, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    You are such a fucking microbiologist when you break it down, I am in nerd mode and all you said was true. Human physiology for beginners , way to inform em Roosh.

  12. Viceroy October 23, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    I’ve drank coffee since I was 6 years old, regularly and of my own will and control since 14 or so. For the past few years I’ve learned a lot about coffee and I have a lot of toys and ingredients that allow me to make several different mean cups of it. Because I’ve always had it and never had to slow consumption, I could never know if I was addicted to it or not.

    One day I had to move and went totally without coffee for 2 weeks and experienced no necessitating urge to drink it, or withdrawal symptoms. I think I was 20 years old or so.

    Not sure what this means but it is useful information

  13. 'Reality' Doug October 23, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    Great post. I’ve been off and on with coffee, knowing I have some dependency on it. I needed to see this post, and read the week off as a reference period. Throwing out my watered down cup of coffee now. I’m thinking less grounds works about as well as diet soda. I’ve quit soda. I can quit this, except on special social occasions like alcohol. From now on, coffee is to day game what alcoholic beverages are to night game: used sparingly as ostensible purpose.

  14. xbs October 23, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    Hi Roosh, a Romanian tabloid recently published an article about the Romanian women who are among the most easy to get hooked European women according to your judgment. They said “Daryush Valizadeh , leisure travel expert, has made a world map about how easy women give away to men’s advances”. Can you tell me where can I find that map on your blog? Thank you.

  15. Hencredible Casanova October 23, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    Lucky that you don’t have to get up early in the morning. A cup of coffee does wonders for me. I never have a cup after Noon, however. But it’s a great way to kick start a busy day. Since you work at your own leisure, coffee is not really needed or helpful.

  16. Blade October 23, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    This was a really good and interesting scientific essay. You explained a complicated process in a way that anyone can understand.

    It kind of reminds me of short scientific essay “The Spider and the Wasp” by Alexander Petrunkevitch which I fully recommend to anyone.

    Have you thought about writing some more similar articles?

  17. Pill Scout October 23, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    I didn’t quit caffeine altogether, but I did quit coffee and energy drinks. I was tired at first but then my body adjusted in about a week. I only drink tea and guayusa now.

    I do get tired when I don’t want to be since I’m used to going on and on like the Energizer bunny, but I took note of the amount of sleep I actually need, and now I really only need about 6 hours plus a nap in the noon to get up and going rather than the 9+ hours of sleep I’d overindulge in after my coffee binges.

  18. PaulMurrayCbr October 24, 2013 at 3:28 am

    Caffeine only masks the feeling of fatigue. This is why coffee+alcohol is a recipe for a DUI conviction or a motor vehicle accident, depending on how lucky you are.

  19. Igniss October 24, 2013 at 8:46 am

    Amen. I never drink any form of coffee or coke in the afternoon because I have serious trouble falling asleep. I am surprised to hear this about tea, though. I have never felt that way from it. But I drink mostly orange, rose hip and hibiscus tea, so that might be it.

    1. Roosh_V October 24, 2013 at 10:44 am

      Black teas have pretty high caffeine amounts. Fruit teas have none.

  20. prepman October 24, 2013 at 9:20 am

    Good post.

    I know about those headaches, as I suffered caffeine withdrawal about a week ago when I ran out of coffee. I just stopped drinking the stuff. I didn’t’ visit Starbucks or the local espresso house either. I can’t say I had longer, more vivid dreams. However I wasn’t really paying attention any changes other than my constant headache for two days.

    It may be time to forego caffeine again, but this time permanently.

  21. OlioOx October 24, 2013 at 9:56 am

    Roosh, remember what Voltaire said about coffee — he drank an average of 50 servings per day — a woman told him when he was old: “Coffee is a slow poison.” He replied: “It must be, I’ve been drinking it for 70 years and I’m not dead yet.”

    1. motherfckerjones October 24, 2013 at 8:02 pm

      Are you sure about that? I mean that Voltaire drank a ton of coffee throughout his life? I seriously doubt it…He died at the age of 83. What’s your source for that?

      1. OlioOx October 29, 2013 at 8:57 am

        mfj, I use this thing called the ‘Internet’ — it’s very powerful, but you should get someone to show you how to use it effectively.

  22. Gruncho October 24, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    I _need_ to drink coffee in the morning or I wont be able to function during the day. I get headaches plus a feeling of complete mental disorganization. If I stop drinking coffee for 2-3 days (my max abstinence to this day) I run around with headache, sweats, heart ache until a half liter of espresso saves me from more horrors.

    Thanks for going forward with the example and motivating me to a new try to get off it.

  23. Dinky "Baby Cock" Junior October 24, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    Sometimes I drink piss from the dick of a donkey before hunting down bitches in my black mini-rape-van.

    Cull to satan!

    1. Roosh's Brother October 24, 2013 at 4:02 pm

      Whoa bro! Can you pick me up a video-game on the way home

  24. Scott Worthington October 25, 2013 at 7:07 am

    I’m not sure (actually I know, I positively can’t!) I can get through my 5:30am workout at the gym without a caffeine boost. I am 43 years old. I bench heavy weights. Some mornings I literally have to drag myself out of bed to get to the gym, and without caffeine it just ain’t happening.

    1. Ryan Doyle March 14, 2014 at 7:13 pm

      But the argument is that if you went, say, a month or two without any caffeine, your sleep would be so improved that you would be able to get out of bed much easier. The body’s ability to produce its own energy through nutrients in food gets messed up we regularly feed it caffeine.

  25. Bukko_Canukko October 25, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    I love caffeine! I work with drug addicts on a hospital psychiatric ward, and I can relate (slightly) to how they feel about heroin and meth because my brain just does not feel “right” unless I have my morning dose from my fancy Italian espresso machine. It sharpens my ability to absorb information. F’rinstance, I read your neurochemical explanation of how the caffeine molecule works BEFORE my morning cuppa, and it didn’t quite click. Just now, after coffee, it made perfect sense! Speaking as someone who spends a fair bit of time focused on how drugs (the psych meds, mostly) affect brain function, that was an OK summation for a layman, Roosh. (Notice the subtle neg there?)

    I plan to work my $2,500+ coffee-making set-up into my nascent game when I emigrate back to Australia next month, where coffee (“flat whites”) is a national religion. Having top-notch equipment will be part of my “cool” factor and being able to spin yarns to chicks about coffee will add to the “interesting” factor. Let’s see how that works on Aussie babes, who are not QUITE as fucked-up in the head as Roosh says. And definitely not the C-U-Next-Tuesdays that Duhmerican women are.

    Now on to read the post about being a PUA in coffee shops!

  26. Scott Worthington October 25, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    If you’re under 33 yrs old, you don’t need caffeine. If you’re over 36, good luck and more power to you if you can get along with out it.

  27. LC October 31, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    I never drank any coffee until I was 35 years old, and my job and other obligations got so stressful that I started. Everyone else in the office seemed to guzzle it all day, and it seemed like it would be a good way to get some energy. I just stopped drinking coffee last month after 2 years of drinking it, and I feel much better. Coffee made me feel really annoyed and angry all of the time. That went away after 2 days of no coffee. I feel a lot less tired now, and I feel like the coffee was milking my adrenal glands dry.

    1. CR7 April 17, 2016 at 5:51 pm

      Widthrawal effects are basically same as with using drugs

    2. Courtney November 26, 2016 at 7:18 pm

      It’s a spider. Not all species react the same way humans do.

  28. Timoteo November 3, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    My understanding of caffeine’s effect on sleep is that it doesn’t necessarily prevent you from sleeping, but affects the KIND of sleep you get. It prevents you from getting the deepest, most restful sleep. The change in your dreams may be indicative of that.

  29. Timoteo November 3, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    It also may be why you felt the need to nap early in the day. You didn’t get deep, restful sleep the night before, so you ended up groggy during the day.

  30. rosey_gee January 18, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    Agree with the more vivid dreams! I quit coffee for 3 days and remembered my dreams upon waking, as opposed to when I was drinking coffee and remembered zero. As dreams go, they were vivid and long-winding. Tried coffee again today and it’s 2 AM here and still can’t sleep. Will now quit now for good and maybe just have it as a treat once a month or so. I also love the natural feeling of overwhelming sleepiness at around the time I finish doing the dishes at night. Whenever I drink coffee, I don’t have that.

  31. Petr March 5, 2015 at 2:32 am

    It is much better for me without a coffee. I’m defenitely less irritabile, more focused during the day. Sometimes when I drank coffee I had this moments when time just flied. It was because I was on some kind of auto pilot. Therefore, these days were shorter and moreover leave me exhausted.
    After three weeks without caffeine I can tell it’s a relief I made it.

  32. Ian Sean April 3, 2015 at 7:19 pm

    Will caffeine displace an already bound neurotransmitter, as in boot it off the receptor?

  33. Aaron1960 April 9, 2015 at 9:33 am

    Currently doing this with sugar. Slowly dialing it back and am currently consuming about 1/2 of what I was 3-4 months ago. It ain’t easy BUT: I HAVE lost critical weight; the love handles and gut poochiness, the last frontier to a (reasonably) defined mid-section. Working out and aerobic activity wasn’t getting it done. Dialing back sugar, it does work.

  34. CR7 April 17, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    I can relate to this. I used to drink 2 cups of coffee every day. But whenever I got stomach virus or food poisoning I’d have to stop drinking coffee for 2 days. During these days I experienced all these horrible symptoms: strong headaches, being tired and having to sleep during the day, even feeling nausea. Like Roosh, I had to drink my 2 cups of coffee just feel normal, to function. Recently I finally decided to end this torture and haven’t drink coffee for 8 days. I’m feeling great, I have more energy during the day and I’m sleeping better.

  35. Hüseyin Barın June 7, 2016 at 2:25 am

    I was drinking at least 8-9 cups of coffee per day. I preferred to go cold turkey. In a week, you will feel sleepy and sleep more, headaches etc. usual sides of quitting it. After that. your energy level and focus ability will increase dramatically and healthier whiter teethes plus.

  36. Roki Roki October 23, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    coffee is just a drug which will be exposed one day. Don’t drink that crap