hormonologyEvery six months or so, I realize the amount of caffeinated tea I drink has gotten way, way, way out of hand. So, I try to cut back.

However, I always way till Day 5 of my cycle to start reining in the caffeine. (Day 1 is the first day of your period and you count from there.)

If you plan to quit or cut back on caffeine or anything else that’s addictive and could trigger withdrawal symptoms–say, cigarettes or sugar–then I recommend you also try aiming to quit or cut back on Day 5 of your cycle, too.

Here’s why: According to an analysis of 13 studies examining the effects of quitting smoking across the menstrual cycle, researchers found that you tend to experience fewer unpleasant withdrawal symptoms and cravings during the first half of your cycle (once your period is over) than during the second half of your cycle.

While these studies focused on nicotine withdrawal, it’s a pretty fair assumption to make that withdrawal symptoms for other chemicals would have a similar effect.

So, what makes the first half of your cycle a better time to be a quitter? It’s likely because rising estrogen in your Week 1 and Week 2 reduces pain and other discomfort while also upping resolve compared to your Week 3 and Week 4.

And when you aim to quit on Day 5 in your cycle, it gives you a week or so of more rising estrogen days to acclimate to your new health-boosting regimen, making it easier to stick to once your Week 3 and Week 4 roll around.

So far, I’ve cut my caffeine consumption by half, replacing my usual caffeinated tea with water and flavored seltzer.

The next time you want to cut back on something, try this cycle trick and let me know if it helped you!

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