Getting up in the mornings can be rough, but the one thing that gets many of us out of bed is a hot cup of coffee. Coffee is there for you every single morning, day after day, offering you energy, happiness and pretty much a hug in a mug. It can even help ease constipation in some people.
As amazing as coffee is, you may be considering cutting back on your caffeine intake or quitting coffee altogether, especially if you suffer from caffeine sensitivity or are looking for ways to lower your anxiety. Here are a few tips on how to stop drinking coffee.
Why you might want to stop drinking coffee
“There are plenty of health benefits connected to drinking coffee, says Nikola Djordjevic, MD and medical advisor at Whatasleep. “This includes a faster metabolism and decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. However, living caffeine-free comes with its set of perks, including decreased anxiety levels, improved digestion and lowered blood pressure.”
Lisa Hugh, MSHS RD LDN CLT and Founder & CEO, Single Ingredient Groceries, says some people may consider quitting coffee for a variety of reasons, but some one of the most popular reason Hugh sees in her practice is due to to caffeine sensitivities. Some people even experience unpleasant side effects when they drink coffee such as an upset stomach.
Whether you are trying to cut back on caffeine or kick coffee altogether, here’s some suggestions on how you can successfully do it.
How to quit coffee
1. Cut back slowly
Many people make the mistake of quitting coffee, and therefore caffeine, by going cold turkey, which can cause caffeine withdrawals. According to the Cleveland Clinic, symptoms of caffeine withdrawal can include difficulty concentrating, fatigue, flu-like symptoms, headache and even muscle pain.
Instead of quitting coffee entirely, first gradually reduce your consumption. Hugh suggests doing the following: “First, treat caffeine like a medication. The body becomes reliant on the caffeine. Taking it erratically or inconsistently can cause headaches and general discomfort, so start having coffee at the same time every day, in the same dose. Then start reducing the dose. For example, if you normally drink two cups of coffee in the morning, reduce it to one and a half cups for a few days, then one cup for a few days, then a half cup for a few days, then stop.”
Hugh says that if you are someone who wants to stop coffee, but still wants to include caffeine, you can replace coffee with green or black tea, yerba mate, or guayusa.
Djordjevic seconds those substitutions.
“If you’re worried you won’t be able to wake up if you don’t take your morning coffee, then you might try switching it for green tea since it still has caffeine, but on a much lower level and has powerful antioxidants that will help you stay healthy.”
2. Dry brush and take a cold shower
It may not be the first thing you think of when you are looking for a burst of morning energy, but dry brushing followed by a cold shower is incredibly invigorating and will wake you up better than a traditional cup of coffee ever could. Dry brushing detoxifies, increases blood flow and helps with lymphatic drainage, so not only will you be wide awake, you will also be glowing.
3. Get a good night’s sleep
If you wake up feeling groggy and tired, reaching for that first cup of coffee may be your saving grace to keeping your sanity. But instead of relying on coffee for that morning jolt, consider clocking some quality zzz’s.
Create a sleep routine complete with an epsom salt bath, essential oils and a weighted blanket to help you fall asleep faster and more easily. Another way to support deep, restful sleep, is by taking a magnesium supplement. You can also adjust your diet to improve your quality of sleep or stock up on products that can support better sleep.
4. Find a coffee alternative
A lot of times, many of us enjoy a hot cup of coffee because it is simply a part of our morning routine. When I first gave up coffee in 2017 in order to help heal my hormones, I realized it wasn’t a cup of coffee I looked forward to every morning, but rather the ritual of it.
The Cleveland Clinic also suggests just drinking water. It’s a “healthy choice and satisfies the need for drinking a liquid.” If you opt for water, consider giving it a splash of flavor by adding a fresh squeeze of citrus like lemon.
5. Head outside or hit the gym
Another way to quit coffee and find a new form of morning energy is by heading outside into the fresh air. The fresh air and elements, combined with some brisk activity or a heart pumping workout, will boost your morning energy levels.
“Believe it or not, morning exercise can help you wake up and become more alert since it improves your circulation and brings enough oxygen to your brain. So, you don’t need coffee to be woken up; it’s just a lazier way to do it,” says Djordjevic.