For those of us who are constantly on the go, it's not uncommon to feel like you need several cups of joe just to get through the day. While coffee can definitely put a pep in your step, consuming excess amounts of caffeine can leave you feeling jittery and anxious, and it can often prevent you from getting restful sleep. If you're tired of riding the caffeine roller coaster, below are 4 ways to beat this bothersome addiction.
1. Instead of attempting to go "cold turkey," try tapering. Rare is the soul who can just quit their caffeine consumption on a dime; it's much more realistic for you to consider gradually decreasing your caffeine intake over a period of weeks. The first step to help you move toward this goal is to identify exactly how much coffee you're drinking every day. This may require a few days of simply monitoring your coffee intake before trying to decrease your consumption. Once you get a good grasp of how much coffee you tend to drink on a daily basis (e.g., three or four cups a day), you can then decide how you're going to ratchet down this amount.
2. Try substitution to fend off feelings of deprivation. For example, if you drink 4 cups of coffee a day, replace one of those with a cup of green tea, so that you're only drinking 3 cups of coffee instead. Try this for a couple of days, and then consider substituting two cups of green tea instead of just one, while reducing your coffee intake to only two cups per day. While green tea does contain some caffeine, it's in a far less amount, and green tea is packed with powerful antioxidants that promote better health. If you're more of a milk-based coffee drinker – e.g., lattes, cappuccinos, etc. – you can substitute with a chai latte, hot chocolate, or a hot beverage that uses vanilla almond milk as its base.
3. Check your diet. One of the main reasons why we always feel like we need a pick-me-up is because our diet is often loaded with simple carbohydrates, which can make you susceptible to blood sugar spikes, followed by the inevitable crash. Stay away from highly-processed, carb-heavy snacks that are loaded with artificial ingredients and refined sugars, as these are some of the main culprits behind that sluggish feeling you can get in the morning or afternoon--you know, the one that always makes you feel like you need a cup of coffee to get a quick energy boost. Instead, try eating a diet that includes more protein and whole foods, such as eggs, nuts, fish, lean meats, and fresh fruit and vegetables. These high-quality foods can provide your body with the nourishment and energy it needs, which will subsequently reduce those fleeting caffeine cravings.
4. Get more sleep! Many of us underestimate the importance of getting adequate sleep each night because we feel like we have too much to do to get a full night's worth of shut-eye. This is the equivalent of cutting off your nose to spite your face because without getting enough sleep at night, your body will be forced to function on an energy deficit. This will inevitably lead to more caffeine cravings, which is the exact thing that you don't want. Even if you're not able to get all of your sleep on a given night, set aside 10 to 15 minutes for a power nap sometime during the day. Yes, it's that important.
As you can see, there's more to kicking the caffeine habit than just reducing your coffee intake. It takes a comprehensive approach that requires lifestyle adjustments on several fronts. Nobody said that it would be easy, but if you put the above tips into practice, you will be well on your way to kicking that caffeine habit for good.