Are You Addicted to Caffeine? (And What to Do About It)
Coffee (and the caffeine in it) seems like just a part of life these days. If you’re like most of us, you have a favorite brand of java and know exactly where the best local coffee shop is. Who are we kidding – you can probably drive there easily in your pre-coffee fog. Chances are, you wake up in the morning wanting to go back to sleep for a few more hours. You need your cup of coffee to wake you up. Or you reach mid-morning and feel like you just can’t concentrate without a second (or third… or fourth) cup. But does this mean you are addicted to caffeine?
I Can Quit Anytime I Want ToWe’ve all had those moments where we realize we are getting too dependent on caffeine and try to quit. Mind over matter. Should be easy, right? Then what happens? When you quit caffeine some of the common side effects are:
- Increased fatigue
- Inability to sleep
- Decreased energy
- Difficulty focusing or making quick decisions.
What Are The Biological Effects of Caffeine?According to an article by the University of Michigan, caffeine can produce an effect for up to 6 hours. But what are some of these effects? “Caffeine may increase heart rate, body temperature, blood flow to the skin & extremities, blood pressure, blood sugar levels, stomach acid secretion and production of urine (diuretic).” Ok, it’s pretty obvious that quitting caffeine would be beneficial. But how can you do this?
Nature the Miracle WorkerIn order to see how to quit, it is important to remember why you started in the first place. Let’s look at this hypothetical (but very probable) scenario: You woke up one day feeling yourself dragging and eventually decided you needed a stimulant to help you through. You noticed friends or coworkers were all drinking a caffeinated beverage and decided to try it. You got an artificial energy boost, and from that point on you were hooked. But was there another option that would’ve boosted your energy without creating a caffeine dependency? Or (more likely) if you are already dependent, is there a more natural solution? If you find your energy dragging, here are some natural things you can do:
- Get more sleep. I know, easier said than done. But allowing yourself 8 hours of shut-eye will leave you feeling more energized in the morning. Rather than staying up late to get more done (which doesn’t work anyway since you are so tired), set up an invariable sleep schedule. You’ll find you are more efficient and less likely to get stressed out.
- Examine (and tweak) your diet. Again, easier said than done. It goes without saying, however, that a diet rich in whole foods and free from sugar will help you build energy the natural way.
- Consider nature’s helper: adaptogens. Adaptogens are plant-based herbs and roots that help your cells adapt to the environmental and mental stresses you encounter throughout the day.