Whether you take it black or on ice with extra whipped cream, coffee is a mainstay in many people’s routines for energy and focus. A coffee buzz may motivate us to embrace the day, but switching to caffeine alternatives for a pick-me-up in the afternoon makes it easier to unwind for healthy, restful sleep at nighttime. Personally, I was curious about caffeine-free life, so I quit drinking coffee a few weeks ago and can confirm that I’m getting much better rest.
Studies show that caffeine intake affects sleep even when consumed a full six hours before bed. If you want better sleep, you may want to reconsider that extra cup of coffee or energy drink when you’re feeling the dreaded 3 p.m. slump. Regardless of the time of day, overconsumption of caffeine can lead to undesirable side effects like migraines, fatigue, and anxiety, which are all reasons why I decided to quit caffeine. What I found was that having something to replace the ritual of making and consuming coffee was essential.
Try these caffeine alternatives instead and enjoy more restful Zzzs:
Dark leafy greens like kale and spinach are rich in fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Sipping on a green juice provides a nutritional boost that keeps you energized. Instead of heading to the local coffee shop for an afternoon break, find a juice or smoothie spot nearby or make your own at home. Check out five of our favorite green juice recipes to try!
With its invigorating scent, peppermint can help fight daytime sleepiness and boost concentration. A warm cup of peppermint tea can increase alertness, help freshen your breath, and ease digestion, so it’s a great caffeine alternative to sip after a midday meal that won’t keep you up at night.
When you’re feeling low energy, try taking a break from whatever you’re doing to bring some simple movement into your day. It doesn’t have to be a vigorous, sweat-inducing workout, either. An easy 20-minute walk can help relieve stress and boost endorphins. Moving around is the perfect way to reset your mind and body with a quick energy boost.
Ginseng has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. Studies indicate ginseng’s power against fatigue, as well as aiding brain function, focus, and improved memory. It’s also been linked to anti-inflammatory effects as a potent antioxidant. Try herbal tea with ginseng to feel alert and on-the-ball, without any caffeine.
Being dehydrated slows down circulation, impacting the flow of oxygen throughout your body. When the body is dehydrated, it has to work harder to pump oxygen, so you end up feeling more sluggish. A simple solution? Drink water! I love getting an extra sensory boost from the bubbles in sparkling water and adding in fresh fruit for flavor. For more tips on staying hydrated (besides just drinking water!), click here.
Caffeine can be a hard habit to break, especially when it becomes your morning ritual and your quick fix to stave off the midday lull. Remember that one of the most essential regimens for mental and physical wellness is adequate sleep, so you want to preserve that nightly refresh by aiming to get at least seven hours of sleep a night.
About the author
Colleen is a digital marketing professional with over 10 years of experience in online media. After living in Los Angeles for five years, she moved back to her home state of Michigan where she currently works for a hiking and lifestyle shoe brand. When she's not enjoying the outdoors through running, hiking, or walking her dog, she loves spending time at the pottery studio or dreaming up travel plans with her partner.