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Why I’m Choosing To Cut Back On Caffeine

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Minnesota chapter.

I’ve been there: the dreaded caffeine headache on a dreary Tuesday when I’ve neglected to allow time to grab a coffee before class, head pounding and vision blurring as I try to make it through the day. Caffeine has a hold on me, body and soul — and it terrifies me. I decided to sit down and have a chat with myself about my habits, and came to a scary but exciting goal: I’m going to cut back on caffeine. Why would a person do such a thing, you ask? Check out my super real and compelling reasons below:  

Because It’s Expensive AF

I’m not a great budgeter. But, the budget that I do have allows for maybe three cups of coffee from Starbucks a month. When you’re a student AND have a caffeine addiction, that’s simply not realistic. I’m not going to share how much how much I end up spending on coffee each month, so if you came here to make fun of that number, I’m sorry to disappoint. I’ll leave you with a general statistic, instead: the average American spends $1,100 per year on coffee. That’s $92 a month, folks. Think of how all of that money could be better spent… think of how many charities could be donated to! Think of *gasp* how many animals could be adopted!


Because It Triggers Anxiety

My MBTI personality is whichever one is the Anxious Person (jk, it’s ISFJ… The Defender). However, I have been around the block and back with anxiety plenty of times and I’m ready for a change of scenery. For those of you who also struggle with anxiety, this one may or may not apply to you — each person has a unique list of triggers, and it’s important to recognize what practices you need to cut out for yourself. Some studies have indicated that caffeine can stimulate your body’s “fight or flight” response, which for some, is anxiety-inducing. I have found myself to be in this category of people, and if you find yourself there as well, I am so sorry and also just know that you’re not alone.


Because I Need Better Sleep

I may or may not be giving all of the shepherds out there a run for their money with all of the sheep I’ve counted in my lifetime. Only, because life isn’t fair, I haven’t been getting paid for it. As much as I’d like to believe that my life calling is in sheep care and not editing books, I have to face the facts: caffeine has the power to drastically hinder sleep. One study suggests that while drinking coffee 6 hours before bedtime can reduce your total sleep by a whole hour, your entire internal clock can get farther and farther off tick, and the sleep that you do get won’t be as deep. Folks, I like sheep, but I’d much rather dream about Stephen Amell or Chris Evans or not having student debt, or a million other glamorous things.  


Because I’d Rather Get Energy Naturally

Liquid energy will always be one of my favorite shortcuts, but I’ve come to the point in my life where unless it’s Felix Felicis I’m not much interested in liquid-anything. Don’t tell Captain Morgan I said that. In all seriousness, caffeine tricks me into thinking I don’t need to exercise or see the sun or interact with humans, and the future version of me doesn’t like that. Study after study has proven that the best way to get over the hump of fatigue is to exercise, even when your body doesn’t feel like it. I have a few pals in my pocket who are great about exercising regularly, and I encourage you to find your own support, too — whether it be group workouts or a great Spotify playlist.


Because There Are So Many Tasty Decaf Alternatives

I will follow the smell of coffee to the ends of the world. And the taste of coffee… that, I don’t think I could ever get over. Thankfully, I don’t have to. There are so many delicious decaf coffee drinks waiting to be purchased, should one get the hankering. I’m not saying anyone should swap every caffeinated coffee purchase with decaf because that would still be expensive af, but when you’re just drinking decaf coffee for the taste, it seems like a more manageable “three-a-month” treat quota. You may or may not have also heard that I’m an unofficial sponsor for tea as well — many of which are also decaf. Sometimes you just need to hold a hot cup of comfort in your hands, and I’m here to say that I’ve finally realized decaf can equal comfort, too.


Because… Waste Reduction

Did y’all see that some scientists gave our planet until 2040 due to climate change? That terrifies me. How is that related to giving up caffeine, you ask? Coffee is one of the largest causes of waste in America. Over 400 million cups of coffee are consumed per day; that’s just a small percentage of the estimated 30.9 billion disposable cups thrown away per day. If you purchase just one beverage in a disposable cup daily, you’ll contribute 23 pounds of waste each year. I’d like to believe it’s my duty to reduce that waste as much as I can, and by opting for water in my glass bottle, hopefully, I can make a small difference.


Because It’s Healthy

Without multiple obligatory cups of coffee a day, I’d drink so much water instead. Oh, to think of how happy my organs would be. Studies show that reducing caffeine intake makes for a healthier heart, lower risk of Type 2 Diabetes, easier absorption of certain minerals like calcium — and all nutrients — healthier teeth, lower blood pressure and so much more. Even if I only have 22 years left to live until 2040, I’d like to go out with the healthiest version of myself possible. It would be horrible to be stuck in the body of a sleepless, addicted, anxious, headache-ridden body forever.

Withdrawal Sucks… But It’s Worth It

I won’t try to beat around the bush. Headaches suck. Fatigue sucks. Irritability sucks. But there are healthy ways to beat these withdrawal symptoms, and for me, nothing will be as satisfying as beating addiction. I’m not going to tell everyone that they need to give up caffeine — but if you’ve been thinking about it, just know that I’ll be sad with you every step of the way. And then I’ll be happy with you for the rest of our lives, cheering because we’re in control of where our energy is coming from!  


Kayleen Hedberg

Minnesota '19

Kayleen is a a senior at the University of Minnesota studying English and Creative Writing. She is a Hufflepuff, a cat mom and lover of all things superhero.
Jillian McMahan

Minnesota '19

Jillian McMahan is a senior studying child psychology at the University of Minnesota. She aspires to one day be the Leslie Knope of her workplace.