5 Helpful Tips for Curbing Your Coffee Addiction
For a society that vilifies drugs, Americans sure do love their coffee. With a whopping 66 percent of Americans having a daily cup of joe, coffee is nearly as ubiquitous as water.[*]
Coffee can be valuable when moderately consumed. It can give you an almost immediate energy boost and is a good source of antioxidants. Unfortunately, it’s very easy to consume too much coffee, too often, opening the door to undesirable effects, such as anxiety, jitters, sleep issues, and energy crashes.
Why is coffee so addicting and how can you take steps to curb your intake? Here’s what you need to know.
Are You Addicted to Coffee?
You can blame caffeine for your inability to say no to that third venti. Caffeine is a natural stimulant and the most commonly consumed psychoactive drug.[*] Like other drugs, caffeine can become addictive with regular use by promoting changes in your brain.
So, how do you know if you’re addicted to coffee? If you feel like the best part of waking up is coffee in your cup, that’s a pretty good clue. Those that are addicted to coffee depend on the beverage to get their morning motor running, often feeling like they can’t properly function without it.
Additionally, coffee addicts typically find they need to consume more coffee over time to achieve the same amount of alertness.[*] This is called tolerance.
Is being addicted to coffee really that bad? Coffee consumption becomes problematic when it disrupts your life or health in a negative way. Perhaps it’s causing you insomnia, heart palpitations, or energy crashes. Or maybe it’s exacerbating your anxiety, stress, or depression. Oh, and we can’t forget about those nasty withdrawal headaches when you don’t have your daily dose!
Tips for Curbing Your Coffee Intake
Whatever the reason, many coffee drinkers are looking to curb their intake or quit the habit altogether. If you fall in this camp, we’ve got some tips to make your transition as smooth and successful as possible.
1. Decrease your coffee intake slowly
You might feel very motivated to reduce your coffee intake, and that’s great, but don’t make the mistake of stopping cold turkey. Doing so may result in significant withdrawal symptoms, including shakiness, irritability, headaches, depressed mood, and even flu-like symptoms.[*]
To reduce the incidence of these uncomfortable symptoms, gradually reduce your coffee consumption over a period of days or weeks. For example, if you’re drinking four cups of coffee daily, reduce to three cups per day for a week, then two cups per day for a week, etc. Slow and steady wins the race!
2. Drink alternative coffee products
Coffee might be the most well-known energy-producing beverage, but it certainly isn’t the only one. There are a number of healthy coffee alternatives on the market that provide the benefits of caffeine without adverse side effects.
Take chico, for example. Chico is a caffeine-free coffee alternative that contains six superfoods, including Ashwagandha, Cacao, Gotu Kola, Lion’s Mane, Maca, and Rhodiola Rosea. These plants provide benefits like focus, brain function, energy, and alertness—all without the negative side effects of caffeine.
3. Find a new morning ritual
Part of people’s addiction to coffee stems from the rituals and experiences attached to it. Preparing your morning cup of coffee and sitting on your porch can be almost meditative and sets the tone for the day.
Just because you give up coffee, however, doesn’t mean you have to give up the ritual. You can simply replace coffee with a caffeine-free alternative like decaf coffee, herbal tea, or a coffee alternative like chico.
Or, you can explore other types of morning rituals altogether, such as practicing a quick yoga flow, engaging in a deep breathing exercise, or making a superfood smoothie. You just might discover a new morning routine that makes you feel better and more energetic than coffee ever did.
4. Have a plan for cravings
It can be helpful to identify situations or moods in which you’re more likely to crave coffee. Have a plan for how you can support yourself in these moments. Some ideas to consider include:
- Preparing an alternative healthy beverage
- Going for a walk
- Taking a five-minute relaxation break
- Stretching for five minutes
- Eating a healthy snack
You could even call a friend or family member and talk through your craving. This might sound a little silly in regards to coffee, but support from others can go a long way in sticking to your goals. Even better, find a buddy who also wants to reduce or quit coffee and support each other through the process.
5. Embrace naps
When you reduce your coffee intake, it’s normal to feel very tired, even if you’re getting adequate sleep. If you’re in an environment where this is possible, allow yourself to take a 20-minute nap, which has been shown to boost alertness and performance more than a cup of coffee.[*]
Also, keep your eye on the prize. Once you get through the withdrawal period, your energy levels should normalize, freeing you from needing your daily coffee fix to function normally.
Open the Door to a Healthier, More Energetic You
Reducing or quitting coffee can be challenging. After all, it’s an addictive drug. But going through some temporary discomfort is well worth the benefits waiting on the other side.
Some of these benefits include better sleep, improved mood, decreased anxiety, fewer headaches, no more jitters, lower blood pressure, and healthier (and whiter!) teeth.[*][*][*][*][*]
Think about it like this: if the benefits of quitting coffee were available in pill form, people would be lining up around the block to get their hands on it.
While there is no such pill, you can experience all of these benefits simply by changing your daily habits—and doing so is easier than ever with the help of energy-boosting coffee alternatives like chico. Just add a scoop of chico powder to eight ounces of hot water and stir in your favorite fixings. Chico even has a rich, coffee-like flavor thanks to roasted chicory root, a gut-healthy plant.
It’s time to kick your coffee addiction to the curb and welcome a healthier, happier, more energetic you. Who’s in?