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Avoiding Caffeine Withdrawal

Your daily cups of java seem innocent-until you hit the trail and don't get your normal caffeine buzz for a couple of days.

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Your daily cups of java seem innocent-until you hit the trail and don’t get your normal caffeine buzz for a couple of days. The resulting withdrawal symptoms can leave you sleepy and irritable, and give you headaches and even muscle aches.

“Caffeine withdrawal can feel like the flu,” says Terry Graham, Ph.D., professor of human biology and nutritional sciences at Ontario’s University of Guelph. Cutting yourself off from coffee the day before a backwoods trip won’t do much good either. “Your body needs 2 to 4 days to get over the effects,” says Dr. Graham.

The good professor’s suggestions:

  • Go cold turkey 3 to 5 days pretrip.
  • Pack along caffeine pills or gum, or caffeinated drinks like tea. Or, just take coffee with you for your normal kick-start.