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25 April 2016 @ 02:58 pm
Caffeine  
I consume a fair bit of caffeine these days, but I do so more carefully than I once did. These are both related to me buying a *brick* of pure caffeine awhile back. It was over a pound. So, y'know, quite a long time worth of supply. Mostly it's still sitting in a jar in a locked cabinet, because leaving that out near kids would be really stupid.

I have a small tin of it at work, which I ordinarily mix with bai5 drinks, the ones with some tannin (e.g. pomegranate, blueberry) so the bitterness of the caffeine is less objectionable.

For completeness: I often have a single Mountain Dew on the way to work, timed to have the caffeine start hitting about the time I'm set up and working.

That's fine, and has worked well. It's classic agonistic usage of caffeine - reinforcing my most awake times with some extra stimulation and energy. It's a great way to provide a small but significant productivity multiplier on my work.

It also needs to change. I'll explain.


"Agonistic" caffeine usage is as opposed to "antagonistic" -- reinforcing high-energy times to hit higher peaks, rather than caffeinating when tired to get less extreme troughs.

Unfortunately, you can't do both.

You can burn more energy when you're up, you can burn more energy when you're down, but if you do both, you crash hard.

It's almost as though humans had limits. Damn us all.

Agonistic caffeine usage doesn't *require* a regular schedule, but it rewards it. Extra energy at predictable times and working hard early in the day mean more of a drop in the evening. You had extra energy and you burned it first thing in the morning. Great for your early-morning work quality, terrible for evening alertness. If you try to push yourself in the evening, you often just can't. That ship has sailed, that battery is dead, your butt is snoring on the couch at 8:30.

Which means if you're going to go out at night, you really shouldn't do that. Again: burn your extra energy early or late, but not both.

Suddenly, Krissy and I are out doing fun things in the evenings.

You know what I need to not do? Caffeinate hard and early.

This life, it keeps changing. It's almost like I'm not actually dead yet.
 
 
 
Shalyndrashalyndra on April 26th, 2016 12:31 pm (UTC)
You could also do what I do and switch it up sometimes. I'll often go weeks drinking a several cups of black tea in the morning, then skip a few days, then switch to one or two cups of green tea or try other fun stuff in my tea cabinet.

The best thing for me for energy in the evening though is food. When I actually have to pull all-nighters, I avoid caffeine as much as I can and start snacking.

I only do caffeinated soda and energy drinks on special occasions, though, I crash too hard and they are hard on my stomach.
David: Simpsons Me - Bodytsgeisel on April 28th, 2016 02:31 am (UTC)
I suppose I have an antagonistic relationship. There was a time when I was off caffeine completely, for about 20 years maybe, and have since reintroduced myself to it. Right now a can of Dr. Pepper is like what Red Bull is to many people. And I've been known to go through a 1.25L bottle of Mt. Dew over the course of many days, having only a few swigs just to get me through the next few hours.

It works for me. Caffeine as a tool, not a drug. But you probably need to go cold turkey first for it to work best.
Noahangelbob on April 28th, 2016 03:08 am (UTC)
Yeah, I do periodic cold-turkey purges. I'm told that 4 days without any caffeine (or 8 days with reduced intake and/or a bit of cheating) is enough to biologically reset you, but habits take a bit longer.