For most of my adult life, I've been a very heavy coffee drinker. (I was a light coffee drinker as a child, too.) At my worst, when I was working someplace where there was free coffee just across the hallway from me, I drank a good six or eight cups a day. The last year or so, I'd been trying to keep it to two large cups a day.
But for the last couple months or so, I've been living an almost caffeine-free life. I had tried that once before, and it was a spectacular failure — I went cold-turkey, and after two months with no caffeine (except the occasional little bit of chocolate), I was sleeping quite a lot more, but I was also just as utterly groggy and unable to concentrate as I normally am on my worst days all the time. I decided it wasn't fair to my job to be completely useless, and gave up, with the theory that I might try again at some point if I ever had an extended vacation.
Both times started about the same way — I came down with a mild cold, stopped drinking coffee during that, and just never started up again.
This time has gone a lot better. I'm sleeping better (but not all the time the way I did last time), and I feel more energetic than I did when I was drinking coffee. I'm not sure exactly what's different. One thing that's different is that I'm not completely off coffee this time; lately I've been drinking maybe one cup a week. (And I sure notice it when I do, both in good ways and in bad.) Maybe the time of year helps; I don't remember what season it was the last time. But in any case, I'm happy with the changes it seems to be making in my sleep cycle and my general level of energy.
One side effect of sleeping better seems to be that I'm remembering my dreams more. Since my dreams tend to be on the bizarre side, this is a Good ThingTM. For instance, this morning...
The first dream I remember from this morning was in a grassy place near an ocean. The grassy place normally had a couple bodies of water like a pond or stream, but there had been very heavy rains and now it was almost completely flooded, with some soggy bits above ground, and lots of places where the tall grasses were poking up above the water. (Then nearby was the seashore, where that stopped and the water took over completely, but with the flooding, the dividing line wasn't clear. In real life, of course, this couldn't happen by an ocean, because it would take flooding on a massive planetary scale to raise the sea level.) There was also this thing that was somehow a cross between a water slide (and the whole scene had a playgroundy feel to it) and a stream running down a mountainside, except that there was no mountainside. My unconscious decided that the heavy flooding had done weird things to the currents, such that I could slide myself up the stream/slide just by pulling gently on the tufts of grass along the edge, and then let go and slide down at normal acceleration. (Convenient of the uphill current to help me when I was going up but not get in the way when I was going down.)
That was it. No plot. Just rich verdant Freudian imagery.
Then my alarm went off for the first time, and I got groggily out of bed and managed to find the snooze bar, and collapsed again.
The second dream was more interesting, at least in a narrative sense. I was walking along a narrow sidewalk (or maybe one of those worn tracks by the side of a highway that isn't really a sidewalk), at night but under good street lighting, and a clump of people were walking behind me, faster than I was so they approached and caught up with me. They were kind of noisy. I turned around and saw (as it seemed to me in my dream) that they were a group of nuns. They were all nuns, although some of them were men, and they were dressed more like cardinals or priests (except for one which I'll get in a moment). They were all older, about the age you'd expect for a cardinal, and I think they were all white. One of them looked just a bit like Cardinal Law, but one of them was dressed exactly like and looked exactly like the Pope. The current one, John Paul II. But he was a nun too. He was talking on a cell phone, or trying to, but all the other nuns were chattering loudly and the Pope-nun was having a hard time with his phone call. I tried to hush the other nuns a bit, asking them to let the nice old nun in the skullcap finish his call. (I think I'd been a little annoyed at how loud and boisterous they were all being as they approached behind me, too.)
I have no idea why the Pope should be appearing as a nun in my dreams. If I were Sinéad O'Connor (or the Pope in my dreams were), it would make sense. Even though I (in the person of my unconscious) clearly did, I feel like I couldn't possibly make this stuff up.
Anyway, my alarm went off again before I could tell whether the Pope-nun had been able to make his call all right, and I repeated the procedure of climbing clumsily out of bed (I sleep in a waterbed that I bought from sionnagh when she moved, who had earlier bought it from missdimple), banging in the general direction of the clock until I hit the snooze bar, and collapsing back into bed.
The third dream I don't remember much of, or maybe there just wasn't much of it. It combined elements of the previous two dreams: it was about a special cell phone completely encased in clear plastic (like lucite) so that it could be used underwater. That's basically all there was to it, and when the alarm went off for the third time, I actually managed to stay awake.
I hope I start having some of the dreams I used to have where I would save the world from oppression and injustice. But these were pretty cool in their own right.