One night this week, I lay awake till 3am unable to sleep, this happens a couple of times a month if I'm in training for something and my fitness starts to increase along with my caffeine intake.
It's frustrating and disruptive to my working day and every time it happens I curse myself and blame the coffee. But working out the right caffeine intake for your activity level isn't that easy.
Angry coffee people
I've met a few people who have an excessive caffeine intake and in all cases, they complained of low energy, poor appetite and were pretty strung out and moody. It's a drug after all and should be used sparingly to be effective.
Coffee squeezes your adrenal glands - they are the ones responsible for releasing hormones in response to stress (fight or flight), such as adrenaline. Unless you do something with this adrenaline ie chase a beast to kill for dinner or sprint up a big hill, it stays in the nervous system and has a detrimental effect on the body. However, used correctly, it can aid the athlete in training.
What's your cup max?
As a general rule, I like my first cup about 3 or 4 hours into my working day and another, late afternoon to give me a push for evening training sessions. I don't drink instant coffee, only ground and filtered but am also tempted by branded iced coffees which are usually full of sugar, dried skimmed milk and preservatives. Occasionally I make the mistake of buying these cans of crap and go over my 2 cup limit, usually if I'm a bit stressed, or feeling flat before training. Sometimes I get away with it, but mostly, it leaves me awake for hours unable to quiet my mind.
This video explains the caffeine cycle quite clearly if you are concerned about your intake Adam Carey talks about caffeine.