You probably know that coffee is good for you. It can lower your risk of cancer, diabetes, Parkinson’s, and stroke. It can also make you happier and less depressed. And it can boost your brain power and memory, especially if you drink it after learning something new.
Sounds great, right? Well, it is, but there’s a catch. You can’t drink coffee every day of the month and expect the same benefits.
Here’s why. Coffee works by blocking a chemical called adenosine in your brain. Adenosine makes you feel sleepy and tired. When coffee blocks it, you feel alert and awake. That’s why you love your morning cup of joe.
But your body is smart. It notices that adenosine is not working, so it makes more receptors for it. That means you need more coffee to block them and feel the same effect. A 2012 study found that this happens within three days of drinking coffee regularly.
That’s why you need more and more coffee to stay awake. That’s why you crash hard and get a headache when you don’t have it. More receptors mean more craving for coffee.
And that’s why your coffee habit becomes your new normal. A 2019 study found that people who drank coffee for 20 days increased their energy and performance for the first 15 days. But after that, the effect wore off and they went back to their baseline.
So, while coffee still has many health benefits, the energy and memory boost is gone.
Unless you take a break. The same study found that taking a 7-day break from coffee can reset your adenosine receptors and make you more sensitive to coffee again. That means you’ll feel the boost when you start drinking it again.
You don’t have to quit coffee completely. You can just reduce your intake for a week. Instead of two cups in the morning, have one. Instead of two cups in the afternoon, have one. The idea is to lower your intake for seven days to let your adenosine receptors recover.
How much you want to reduce your intake is up to you. Just make sure you stick to it for a week. One or two days won’t make much difference. But a week will make you enjoy your coffee more when you go back to your normal routine.