Coffee is a pick-me-up, let’s meet up beverage in America.
We treat it as a tool for extra alertness or we pivot social events around it. All things in moderation is a great mantra but if you find yourself in a cycle of groggy waking, caffeination, afternoon slump, caffeination, and restless sleep, it may be time to give yourself a healing gift and quit coffee.
Giving yourself time away from the false energy of caffeine will allow you to come back to your own healthy rhythms; restoring your adrenal system and easing you back into deeper, restorative sleep.
WHY SHOULD I QUIT?
Due in part to it’s high levels of antioxidents, coffee does have some health benefits. However, it also raises our blood pressure and levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Prolonged use of coffee may stress our adrenal system. Since the thyroid gland works in tandem with our adrenals, we need to keep our adrenals healthy for the thyroid to work properly. Women are more likely to experience adrenal fatigue and thyroid disruption so this may be something to consider if you’re thinking about quitting.
HOW MUCH COFFEE IS TOO MUCH?
Tolerance levels affect everyone differently. A recent article in the Chicago Tribune reported that The National Institute of Health found that caffeine “can leave you feeling wired 12 to 16 hours after the last cup, wreaking havoc on sleep” and “drinking just 100 milligrams per day — the amount of a small cup of brewed coffee — and then giving it up can lead to withdrawal symptoms ranging from headaches and depression to flulike nausea and muscle pain.” Only you know if your sleep is suffering or if you are sleepy during the day. This could be because you are drinking six cups or because you are drinking one cup.
HOW DO I QUIT?
If you only drink one to three cups a day, you might be able to quit cold turkey. Withdrawl symptoms are reported to last one to three days so convince yourself to try to go without for three days in a row. By the third day it’s likely you won’t crave it and you can extend another few days and son on. If you drink six cups or more, you may want to taper off. You can do this by limiting yourself to three cups a day, then two, then one. Or you can mix half decaf, half regular coffee for your portions. Some people find it easiest to switch to decaf, which has a tiny amount of caffeine and drink that for a week or so.
HOW DO I BOOST MY ALERTNESS WITHOUT COFFEE?
In the Morning:
Make a morning music mix of whatever gets you going.
Music is used to rehabilitate stroke victims and patients with Parkinson’s disease precisely because it increases mental focus. A Finnish study found that stroke patients who listened to a few hours of music a day experienced a 60% improvement in verbal memory and a 17% improvement in focused attention.
Eat a balanced breakfast.
A combination of protein, a little fat, and complex carbs will sustain your energy and feed your brain for hours.
Take an early morning walk.
Exercise increases oxygen and blood flow to the brain. That, in combination with the fresh air, will erase any morning mental fogginess. If you live in a city, try getting off the train a few stops early on your way to work in the morning. Or, you can start a walking group of parents at your children’s school. You can leave for your walk directly after dropping off your kids.
To combat the afternoon slump:
Often when you feel fatigued, it is a sign your body needs water.
Try a peppy, healthy drink
Perk up with a zippy drink of 3/4 cup sparkling mineral water and 1/4 cup natural fruit juice. Keep a large bottle of mineral water and a single serving bottle of juice in the fridge at work and you’ll have enough for four servings — almost the whole work week.
Eat a protein/fruit Snack
A handful of almonds with some dried apricots or a half of a banana will give you fuel to end your work day strong.
If you think you may struggle with cravings or withdrawl symptoms, give yourself some support. Traditional Chinese Medicine can help you overcome caffeine addiction, heal weakened adrenal glands and bring thyroid back into proper function. With your re-tuned body humming you’ll find you won’t crave caffeine. How will you use all that fresh energy?