How to Kick Your Caffeine Addiction

I’m writing to you now, with a half cup of coffee drank at my side, realizing I have a problem. I can admit that I have an addiction –– a caffeine addiction, that is. I, like many other collegiates, tend to not get enough sleep. There never seems to be enough hours in the day to get everything done that needs to get done, meaning our sleep is usually the one that suffers. Caffeine tends to be the easy solution to the plague of fatigue, but is it really the solution?

I recently tried to go a few days without coffee, purely to cut my sugar intake. What I was surprised by were my splitting headache and my overall bad mood. I hadn’t even realized the amount of caffeine I was consuming in a day until my body physically revolted against me. I was feeling the symptoms of withdrawals coming from caffeine, which is commonly not thought of as a drug.

Caffeine is one of the most common drugs in our society. It’s believed that on average 80% of adults consume coffee on a daily basis. When we eat or drink coffee daily, we end up changing our brain chemistry. Long story short, caffeine blocks our adenosine receptors (the receptors that make us feel tired), which keeps us feeling more focused and awake. When we continue to consume caffeine, we start to build up a tolerance in the form of more adenosine receptors. When we quit or caffeine drinking cold turkey, it can give us those uninvited withdrawal symptoms.

The actual health effects of caffeine on our bodies is not necessarily bad, some studies even suggest that it can even help reduce people’s chances of cancer. However, caffeine affects everyone differently. The good news is that it typically only takes about 7 to 12 days to kick a caffeine addiction. If you’re like me and wanted to cut out coffee from your life, be it for the cost or the calories, there are options for you.

The first thing to keep in mind is your amount of coffee intake. Caffeine comes from many different places, like soda, foods and even some medications. You can ween yourself off caffeine gradually by 1) lowering your consumption and 2) switching from coffee to tea. Tea has caffeine as well, but at a much lower dosage. Having smaller amounts of coffee will keep most of the withdrawals symptoms at bay.

Water is a great alternative to coffee as well. We all know water is literally the key to good health. Carrying around a bottle of water can help you kick the habit of constantly carrying around a cup of water. Exercise is another way to keep away those instincts to grab a cup of coffee. Exercise releases endorphins and keeps us feeling more naturally awake.

The key to kicking your caffeine habit is to make sure you stay on a schedule to wean yourself off. Your body gets used to schedules over time, so stay patient as it adjusts. There are days when the word “coffee” is all I want to hear, but I want to be able to go a few days without a cup. If you feel the same, maybe one of these choices might just be your new, best option.