The time of the year is approaching when stress is at an all-time high and sleep is at an all-time low: finals week. Eight hours of sleep? Never heard of her. Coffee? She’s slowly but surely becoming your frenemy – leaving you the kind of exhausted where your mind is running marathons but your body is begging for your bed. The hours you’ve spent in the library are avalanching and, before your know it, your entire day has been consumed. Despite your genuine efforts thus far, you know you have to keep going until finals are over and spring break is your reality rather than your day dream. In the mean time, though, you’re trying to refrain from inhaling a cup of coffee everyday.
While coffee can have certain benefits, consistently consuming it day after day can leave you with symptoms that are extremely undesirable when you try to stop drinking it. According to WebMD.com, a sudden break in your routine coffee drinking can lead to fatigue, headaches, anxiety, irritability and difficulty concentrating. Instead of drinking coffee this finals season, try these alternatives that can give you your caffeine fix, without giving your body withdrawals.
Tea serves as a wonderful alternative to coffee because it still gives you the satisfaction of sipping on something warm and cozy, while simultaneously giving you a natural caffeine boost that isn’t overpowering. Black tea has the most caffeine out of any type, but the caffeine content is still lower than that of coffee. With thousands of varieties of tea, the possibilities of your selection are endless.
Matcha is a fine green tea powder made from Camellia sinensis plants. Because it is made from ground tea leaves, it packs more caffeine than a cup of steeped tea. If you’re looking for something that has about the same amount of caffeine as coffee, this is your best bet. Despite its higher caffeine content, it contains a natural chemical called L-theanine which has a relaxation effect, leaving you with a caffeine boost that isn’t harsh. Add it to any kind of milk, bake it into muffins or throw it in to your smoothies!
3. Dark Chocolate
Treat yourself! After all that studying, you deserve it. Dark chocolate contains antioxidants and can help lower blood pressure when consumed in moderation. Two ounces of 70 percent cocoa dark chocolate with 10 percent cocoa butter contains approximately half as much caffeine as a cup of coffee.
4. Hot Chocolate
Hot chocolate doesn’t have to be a sugary, caloric mess. There are ways to make this comforting drink healthier and guilt-free. Try making it at home with coconut milk or almond milk, actual cocoa powder and natural sweeteners like honey or Stevia. There are tons of recipes out there that will allow you to enjoy a warm cup of hot cocoa that feels indulgent. Like coffee, you’ll have the pleasure of drinking something warm but with a lower intake of caffeine. Two tablespoons of cocoa powder have about a quarter of the amount of caffeine an eight ounce cup of coffee has.
We hope these delicious coffee alternatives can get you through finals week. Good luck!