How to Kick the Caffeine Habit
If you’re like most Americans, caffeine is an integral part of your daily routine. Sometimes, due to certain life circumstances, you may have cut this energizing substance out of your diet. For instance, people with anxiety, patients with certain heart conditions and pregnant women are often advised to kick caffeine altogether. While this process may come with some discomfort and compromise, here are a few tips to make quitting a little less painful.
Let it go gradually
When quitting caffeine, it’s usually best not to rush the process. If you go cold turkey, you’ll probably face the full brunt of caffeine withdrawal symptoms: headaches, achiness, fatigue, nausea and difficulty concentrating. To avoid these symptoms, the Cleveland Clinic recommends weaning yourself off caffeine over the course of two to three weeks. You can gradually reduce your caffeine intake by swapping some coffee for tea, choosing half-caffeinated coffee or reducing your soda intake. While you’re cutting back on caffeinated beverages, it's important to stay hydrated, so be sure to drink plenty of water or herbal tea.
Walk it off
While kicking your caffeine habit, you’ll probably feel a little more tired than usual. While it may sound counterintuitive, health writer Michelle Konstantinovsky advises getting regular exercise. Exercise doesn’t have to involve a gym membership or strenuous activity — it can be as simple as walking the dog, going for a hike or playing basketball with your friends. Not only will a little more activity provide numerous health benefits, it will also give you a natural energy boost that will last throughout the day. And since quitting caffeine can lead to feelings of stress and anxiety, exercise can be a great way to relieve these feelings and give yourself some mood-boosting endorphins.
Get more rest
If you use caffeine to power through your early-morning commute or late-night study sessions, your sleep schedule might be a little out of whack. Combat grogginess and fatigue by hitting the sack earlier and getting more rest. For better-quality sleep, maintain a regular sleep schedule and find ways to wind down before bed. Good bedtime routines include reading a book, listening to music, or enjoying a warm bath. On the other hand, avoid potentially stressful activities like managing finances, discussing family problems, playing competitive games or browsing social media. It’s also a good idea to avoid consuming caffeine 3-5 hours before bedtime. While this may seem like a lot of effort, when you wake up feeling rested, you won’t be as tempted to reach for a cup of coffee or an energy drink.
Fill up on fiber
When you cut back on coffee or energy drinks, you may find yourself feeling a little constipated. That’s because caffeine induces contractions in the gastrointestinal system, making it easier to eliminate waste. To avoid feeling bloated, drink more water and eat plenty of fiber-rich foods, including leafy greens, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and berries.
It can be tough to give up staples like coffee and energy drinks, but with a little dedication and planning, you can take the plunge. Before making changes to your diet, starting a new habit or beginning an exercise routine, consult a health professional.
This article is presented by Sunny King Honda.