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4 Healthy Ways to Boost Energy and Consume Less Coffee

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For many people who are starting the new school year, coffee has become essential for productivity. It’s incredibly hard to resist a long, cozy afternoon nap when you’re working or studying from home -- especially when your desk is only a few feet away from the bed. Multiple cups of coffee were the only thing that would keep me staying alert.
 
But when I noticed that I was always tired despite my high caffeine intake, cranky, binge-eating, and often anxious, I knew that my coffee dependency had gone way too far. If you are also experiencing these signs, it’s time to change this coffee dependency for good.

 

 
 

That doesn’t mean quitting coffee entirely! There is a healthy way to drink coffee that you can achieve in a few simple steps. By working through these steps, I formed healthy habits to set me up for productivity throughout the school year.

1. Gradually decrease caffeine consumption with coffee alternatives

Start by replacing your Monday morning coffee order with black tea. A cup of coffee has between 95 and 200 milligrams of caffeine, while black tea only has between 14 and 70 milligrams of caffeine. 
 
Then, try replacing coffee with a matcha green tea latte. It has slightly less caffeine than black tea, with 45-60 milligrams per cup. I recommend this brand of matcha powder if you're attempting to make a matcha latte for the first time. This brand of matcha has a subtle taste and simple instructions on how to make the drink. Overall, teas are great for extended work days, due to their slow release in caffeine. You'll feel awake for longer periods and won't experience a caffeine crash.   
 

 

 

 

After that, try coconut water as the next coffee substitute. Known as the "the natural sports drink," coconut water is filled with electrolytes that restore hydration. It also has 0 mg of caffeine. Coconut water's nutrients and refreshing taste are sure to give you a sustainable supply of energy in the morning.

 

2. Drink coffee at the right time 

Our circadian rhythm(the internal body clock that regulates the sleep-wake cycle) controls the release of a hormone called cortisol, which is responsible for alertness. Scientist have discovered that it is best to AVOID caffeine during these hours:
  • 9 am - 10 am 
  • 12 pm - 1 pm
  • 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm
  • within 1 hour of waking up

That's when cortisol reaches peak production. Drinking coffee during these hours decreases the caffeine's effectiveness and reduces your body's natural ability to produce the alertness hormone.
  
Also, planning what you want to accomplish on a particular day is essential for decreasing coffee consumption. On days with few responsibilities lined up, try ditching the caffeine altogether.  

3. No more all-nighters


  
All-nighters were the culprit of my excessive, late-night coffee consumption. While it's common for most college students to pull all-nighters, it can turn into a vicious cycle. I thought I'd be more productive under the pressure of completing everything in one night. Instead, I end up watching Netflix and falling asleep right after drinking dark-roast coffee, throwing my sleep schedule into havoc, and pushing my assignments another day back. All-nighters are not worth it. It's better to take beauty rest and resume working when the sun rises. It’s better to take a beauty rest, and resume working when the sun rises.   

4. Listen to music at the start of the day


  
Music helps you get into a momentum; getting ready in the morning, making breakfast, and checking emails start to feel like one continuous flow. Listening to your favorite beats is an excellent supplement to the previous steps above.

As you drink fewer cups of coffee, your body will adapt to that lower amount of caffeine and perform just as energetically. 

What is your go-to coffee replacement? Let us know by leaving a comment!

Tiffany Marie Tran is currently a high school senior in San Jose, CA. She loves the challenge of writing: her poetry is in the Articulation is Power anthology, and she writes monthly activism articles as the Editor-In-Chief of Youth Art Magazine. Hoping to become a political journalist, she spends her time preparing for policy debate tournaments, organizing community events as a city council intern, and participating in the Santa Clara Office of Women's Policy Girls Advisory Team. To stay healthy during a busy week, Tiffany Marie enjoys figure skating or gardening.