Do you feel you can’t get through the morning without caffeine? In the United States, 80 percent of adults consume caffeine every day. While most Americans enjoy their coffee in moderation, overconsumption can lead to unpleasant consequences. If you find yourself refilling your coffee cup throughout the day you may be familiar with the side effects of caffeine, such as insomnia, stomach issues and increased heart rate.
It’s not all bad news. In fact, the caffeine in coffee is thought to have plenty of benefits—when consumed in moderation. It can help lower your risk of type 2 diabetes, certain cancers and dementia. For many people, there’s no need to cut out caffeine completely. But, cutting back on your caffeine dependence can help improve your sleep quality without sacrificing your morning jumpstart. Consider these three Quality of Lifehacks to help manage your caffeine intake at work.
Know your options. Cold brew versus espresso. “Half caf” or tea. You can’t make the appropriate beverage choice without knowing how much caffeine each contains. For instance, did you know that a single shot of espresso actually has less caffeine than a full cup of drip coffee? Ordering decaf seems like the easiest way to avoid caffeine, but be aware that most “decaffeinated” coffee beverages still contain a small amount of caffeine. The caffeine content of trendy drinks, like cold brews, may surprise you, as well. Do some online research on the caffeinated beverages you love and get the real story.
Take it slow. If you’ve ever tried to quit caffeine cold turkey you know that cutting back on coffee isn’t as easy as it sounds. Besides the obvious fatigue, you may experience other symptoms of caffeine withdrawal such as headaches, irritability and difficulty concentrating. A more sustainable way to lower your intake is to switch out highly-caffeinated beverages for options that allow you to slowly deviate from your coffee routine. If you tend to start your morning with a drip coffee but then swing by a café on your way into the office for a latte, try making that second cup a tea, or “half caf” option. Be smart about your timing, too. You may want to postpone cutting back until after a big deadline or until a long weekend.
Swap in healthy habits. Before you reach for your coffee pot in the morning, try drinking a big glass of water instead. Proper hydration can help to ease caffeine withdrawal and make you feel more alert. Also try a high protein, low carbohydrate diet while on your caffeine cut. Meals that are high in carbohydrates can make you lethargic, but healthy proteins will provide a gentle energy boost when you’re craving a pick-me-up. When you hit that dreaded 2:00 pm wall at work, try taking a walk to give yourself an energy jolt before resorting to another cup.
Have you ever tried to cut back on your caffeine habit? What helped you? Tell us in the comments.