It’s true that caffeine keeps you up at night and if you don’t get enough sleep you simply can’t function at your peak performance the following day. As with anything, coffee or other caffeinated drinks in moderation aren’t bad, but if you feel you’re overindulging here are seven tips to help you give up the caffeine. Whether you decide to sip caffeine free coffee substitutes or just quit cold turkey these strategies can help wean you from your dependence on coffee.
Strategy #1 – Avoid people who are sipping caffeine around you and ask for support from like-minded quitters. If you’re committed to quitting caffeine – whether tea, coffee or soda – you need to tell your friends, family and co-workers and ask them to help you in your quest. Clear your home and workspace of caffeinated products even going so far as to dispose of your favorite coffee mug, it will be a reminder of the drink you love. If you can’t bring yourself to toss your coffeepot and espresso machine, give them to a friend or tuck them in a closet where you won’t have to see them daily. You can also find online support at www.CaffeineAnonymous.org or www.CaffeineForums.com.
Strategy #2 – Remember, it’s more difficult in the morning to avoid the craving for coffee. The aroma of the beverage is just as powerful as the taste itself. Also, if you’ve developed a morning ritual of coffee, newspaper and surfing the internet you might need to substitute your usual caffeinated coffee for a non-caffeinated beverage or either incorporate a new routine – one that doesn’t involve coffee.
Strategy #3 – Think of the health reasons you need to give up coffee. Write down the reasons and stick them to the refrigerator or cupboard where you kept your coffee-making supplies. If you experienced heart palpitations or don’t like the way your breath smells or the discoloration of your teeth – write those words down as a reminder. If you are pregnant, think about your unborn baby. Coffee has been associated with birth defects, miscarriages, low birth weight babies and sudden infant death syndrome.
Strategy #4 – Just as smokers use their habit to get through the day, so do coffee drinkers. It’s okay to take a break but try to find a way to more productively spend that time than sipping coffee or soda. Drink water – you should be getting eight glasses a day, don’t forget that health tip. Instead of reaching for a drink, grab a piece of fruit – incorporate a healthy habit for an unhealthy one.
Strategy #5 — Talk yourself into remembering the reasons why you needed to quit. Was there a time you looked at your bottle of soda or cup of coffee and simply knew, “I just have to quit!” Remember that feeling. Write it down. When you feel tempted, read the reasons why you wanted to quit.
Strategy #6 – Be aware that it is very easy to make excuses and say, “I can just have one cup of coffee to calm me down, be social, etc.” If you do give in, remember you can start fresh tomorrow.
Strategy #7 — Look at your wallet. With the money you save by skipping that morning coffee purchase or by dropping coins in the soda machine you can treat yourself to something special. Make your purchase something tangible so it will serve as a reminder of the fact that you kept a promise to yourself.
Any steps you take to eliminate caffeine from your life will have a positive improvement on your sleep health as well.
Since 2002, Valley Sleep Center has provided Arizona with diagnostic sleep disorder testing in a home-like atmosphere, ensuring a comfortable, relaxing experience for their patients. Their physicians are Board Certified Sleep Medicine Specialists and are accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. They provide diagnostic testing for a multitude of sleep-related disorders including insomnia, sleep apnea, snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, hypertension, sleepwalking and pediatric sleep problems. For information contact Lauri Leadley at 480-830-3900.