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May 22, 2017

Natural stimulants: How to Feel Alert and Fabulous sans Coffee

The mere mention of the word “coffee” is enough to jolt me awake. Just kidding! How I wish that’s for real, but here I am sipping my third cup. I must admit that there were nights when I lose sleep thinking over how I can ditch my caffeine habit. I drink more coffee as I haven’t slept much the night before. Then the next day I’ll be too sleepy, so I’ll bring crank up my coffee just a bit. The cycle goes on and it’s so pathetic! Sounds like you?

Caffeine Junkie Anonymous

Coffee is life. You are not your usual self until you gulped your morning cup. But what if you are taking in too much? How will you know that you are suffering from caffeine addiction? Your coffee habit is ruining your life if you were having bouts of insomnia, irritability, anxiety, nervousness, rapid heartbeat, dizziness, headaches and occasional migraines.

You have already built-up caffeine tolerance, so there is days when you’ll reach for your third, fourth or fifth cup. You are rushing the day, but there are just moments when you are feeling so tired. You might have already tried other caffeine-containing beverages such as energy drinks and cocktails. You even tried to cut back your coffee intake, only to get attacked by a headache the next hour. Sounds like an addict in coffee withdrawal? Since this is also my dilemma, let me share how I worked around my caffeine habit.

Natural Ways to Feel Awake without Coffee

Addiction treatment experts might say that the first step to healing is admitting that you have a problem. OK, you are hooked on caffeine, so it’s not that big of a problem, you are right. Our “addiction” is not as severe as say, drugs or alcohol or sex but hey, it’s still addiction! Our chronic caffeine habit will put us at a greater risk of having brittle bones and heart disease later in life. We must cut back on coffee before it’s too late. How?


1. Plan and sleep
It’s possible to plan your day so you can have more sleep hours. There are days when I just go bum all day only to hurry up and finish my to-do at night. It’s not healthy. It’s super stressful. Don’t cram your activities; instead, plan it. Coffee might make you work fast, but it won’t help if you are inefficient. Plan your day, maximize your hours and get some sleep.

2. Drink water
Before you go about and reach for another cup, drink first at least two large glasses of water. Why water you might ask? Well, you are feeling sleepy but it might also because you are dehydrated. Clogged body equals to fuzzy brain. Drink water to flush out all those toxins. Don’t drink soda as caffeine is usually included on most sodas. Your brain is made of 73-77% water so just a glass of water every two hours during working hours is enough to keep you on your toes and awake.


3. Eat green
Meat can weigh you down. Meat can make you sleepy and less attentive. If you are particular about your brain health, I suggest that you go vegan. If that is not possible, set aside a few days as no-meat days. Eat light, don’t stuff yourself too much. Eat in such a way that you are neither feeling full or hungry. Minimize sugar intake as it can only make you crash and burn in a few hours. Eat a light lunch and munch on small snacks such as apples, nuts, carrots, celery, sweet potato and salad.

4. Drink tea
If you can’t take coffee, go for green tea instead. Green tea has natural caffeine that can make you calm and awake. Tea is effective in keeping you focused without tiring you out.


5. Buy a small cup
The best way to cut back on caffeine intake is to buy a small mug. Water down your coffee gradually and use sugar sparingly. This is also the reason why fitness experts may sometimes advise us to eat meals on a smaller plate.

6. Keep calm
Maintaining ideal temperature can significantly affect an individual’s performance. The summer heat can make us feel sleepy so better invest in a good air conditioner. Turn on the lights and crank up your AC for the sake of productivity.

7. Take small breaks
Stretch your muscles throughout the day. Walk around the office after every hour of intense computer activity. Chew gum during your most sleepy time of the day. Do some jumping jack and jog in place. If you are barely holding up your eyelids, walk a bit around the office. You can also do some eye exercises to keep your eyes awake and alert.


8. Listen to music
An excellent way to keep your blood pumping is the listen to some upbeat music. Avoid sweet songs as they can just lull you to sleep.

Conclusion
If you find yourself reaching for coffee throughout your working day and if you use coffee to feel motivated, then you have a problem. If the challenges of your work are not enough to keep you awake daily, then you don’t need a cup but rather a new job!

Thanks to Sarah M. for this guest article
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