Shady loan sharks of energy

I have always been a big fan of caffeine. It felt like free energy. I didn’t have to consume calories. I didn’t have to waste time sleeping. I didn’t have to drink water or exercise. All I had to do was drink a delicious cup of coffee or have a caffeinated beverage with lunch and off I went, skipping merrily with energy.
But nothing is free, is it? Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It Hass to come from somewhere. So where is the energy that comes with caffeine originating? What shady loan shark am I borrowing from internally?
Well, I have recently discovered the dark side of caffeine. I think it goes without saying that caffeine can disturb your sleep, especially if you consume it after 4 PM. But I have also learned, through my recent investigations into heart rate variability, The caffeine has a more insidious drain on my energy than even disturbing sleep.
This all began for me when I started trying to figure out why I have an abnormally low heart rate variability. My HRV hovers in the high 20s to low 30s on average, wear a normal person for my age and fitness should be in the high 40s to low 50s. That’s right – my HRV is half a normal persons.
As I have mentioned another post, HRV is an important factor in our daily energy. It measures how quickly our hearts can respond to stress and then relax. If our hearts cannot relax after stress, then our autonomic nervous system remains in high alert, draining our energy in multiple systems such as blood pumping to our muscles, draining our brain, and increasing our breathing and heart rates.
What affects our HRV? All the usual suspects. Exercise, stress, and other factors. But I love my job and there aren’t many stressors in my life currently. So I had to dig deeper into what could be causing me anxiety.
Thankfully, my Garmin watch tracks my stress levels throughout the day and I noticed a strong correlation between my stress and when I drink caffeine. Although my mind does not experience caffeine as stress, my body apparently does. I have always thought of the energy that caffeine brings as upbeat and fun, but now that I look back upon it, I can see that there was a frenetic edge to that energy. As I have mentioned before, energy comes in all different flavors and not all of them are delicious.
So I have begun to cut back on my caffeine intake, swapping out my half caffeinated coffee in the morning for tea, cutting out my morning tea at work, and holding myself to one Diet Coke after lunch. I will continue to reduce this until I am down to zero. But I have cut out caffeine before and I know that if I do it too quickly I will have horrible headaches and I want to avoid that as well.
I look forward to reporting back on my progress and if a lack of caffeine helps my energy in the long run. I suspect it will and I am hopeful about the results.

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