As a nation we absolutely love our caffeine – with half of us admitting to not being able to start the day without a cup of tea or coffee.
But can consuming too much be bad for our health, and should we ideally be cutting back on it?
The answer to both those questions is a resounding ‘yes’ – but fortunately help is at hand.
Online eyecare retailer Lenstore has delved into the short and long-term symptoms we could experience from having too much of the stimulant – and the results are quite surprising.
How much is too much?
The healthy recommended amount of caffeine each day is 400 milligrams (about four cups of coffee).
But if you have more than this you are likely to experience negative side effects such as anxiety, dizziness, high blood pressure and an increased risk of eye problems.
The survey found almost one in five (19 per cent) of Brits drink five or more cups of coffee a day, with the same amount suffering from regular headaches, and 26 per cent of them noticing an increased heart rate.
As such, Sujata Paul, professional services clinical lead and contact lens optician, has these top tips for anyone wishing to cut back on the caffeine:
Decrease consumption gradually
Caffeine is known for giving us energy, as it triggers the release of adrenaline; the ‘fight or flight’ hormone associated with increased energy. By reducing your intake you will naturally reduce this level of adrenalin and ease the associated symptoms of nerves, anxiety and stress.
Try caffeine alternatives
The energised feeling we get from caffeine can be easily replicated from alternatives such as herbal teas. Not only can these teas help you feel energised, but they also do not pose the same health risks as caffeine, such as blurred vision, eye spasms and potentially a burning or tingling sensation in your eye, which can occur as a result of raised blood sugar levels.
Caffeine narrows the blood vessels around your brain, so as you’d expect when you stop taking it, these vessels expand again and can lead to headaches. Drinking plenty of water (and maybe add some lemon) will help to combat this, alongside reducing your caffeine intake.
Increase healthy habits
Caffeine is often associated with bad habits such as sleepless nights, as 33 per cent of Brits in our survey admit a cup of coffee keeps them awake. This level of insomnia can lead to dry and sore eyes, as well as other health conditions. Combat this with eye drops and reduced caffeine before bed.
Push through the ‘withdrawals’
While there can be no avoiding some side effects as you cut your caffeine intake, from tiredness to headaches, these symptoms will ease if you push through these sensations. Doing so will help reduce your chances of serious side effects such as glaucoma, which has symptoms including red eye, eye pain, blurred vision and blindness if left untreated.