If a day without coffee seems like your worst nightmare, it may be time to ease up. Especially if you have withdrawal symptoms when you don’t get your fix, your body is likely begging you for a break. Officially classified as a highly addictive substance in 1994, caffeine in excess can cause health issues like anxiety, acid reflux, and insomnia (via HuffPost and Healthline). The good news is that, if you’ve been experiencing any of these ailments, you can kick your caffeine habit for good with a few easy steps.
Start with cutting down your intake little by little so that your body doesn’t go into withdrawals. Keri Gans tells Health, “If you do drink a lot of caffeine, you might want to give it up slowly.” Since your system may be dependent upon the substance, begin to decrease your consumption by a fourth each day. So, if you’re drinking two cups of coffee throughout the morning, limit it to a cup and a half, then gradually decrease it by half a cup each day. Remember: new habits take time and reducing your caffeine intake is no exception.
Switch your caffeinated drink with a new option
To help keep your routine intact without caffeine, start drinking other beverages like tea, decaf coffee, or adaptogenic lattes. Since caffeine withdrawal often points to dehydration, it’s a good idea to increase your intake of water while you’re weaning off of the substance (via Health). Drinking lots of water helps to detox the body as you decrease your intake and likely helps keep you more alert throughout this time.
Since studies show that low alertness and difficulty concentrating come as side effects of caffeine withdrawals, you might need to take naps, rest up, and take care of yourself while you create your new caffeine-free lifestyle. Just like any other addiction or dependency, taking time to be gentle with your system helps to offset withdrawal symptoms.
Caffeine sensitivity is also relative to each person, meaning that what affects you may be less likely to affect someone else (via CNN). So, if you’re somewhat sensitive, it’s a good idea to take note of the other areas in your diet where caffeine sneaks its way in — think chocolate, energy drinks, and other sources. Especially as you’re looking to cut back, make sure you aren’t picking up excess caffeine elsewhere.
Going caffeine free might be the best option for your mental and physical health; just take it slow, go easy on your body throughout the transition and enjoy your new routine!
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