I don’t have many vices. I don’t smoke, I rarely drink alcohol, and I’ve been known, on occasion, to resist peeling off my nail polish. But, guys, I am a coffee-loving fool.
The only thing that keeps me from chugging coffee all day every day is the knowledge that too much coffee can lead to dehydration, which in turn results in dry skin, and loss of precious beauty sleep.
So, over the past couple of months, I've been cutting back on my coffee intake. Let me tell you, weaning yourself off of coffee is NOT easy. Here are some things I've learned that may help others trying to scale back on that sweet, earthy nectar of the gods.
Identify Your Triggers
It’s difficult to quit a bad habit without fixing the underlying problem. Because I have a fatigue issue, I often use coffee to feel more awake. I also drink coffee to cheer myself up. Whenever I’m feeling down or worn out, I tell myself that it’s okay to indulge in those extra few cups. Understanding my caffeine triggers has been key to changing my behavior. Now when I feel sleepy or mopey, I turn to healthier alternatives. Which brings me to my next point…
Try Substituting Coffee With Another Warm Drink
The most obvious substitute is decaf coffee, but many believe that this is not 100% caffeine-free. You could also try black tea, which has up to four times less caffeine than coffee, or caffeine-free herbal tea. Green tea is another good, albeit caffeinated, substitute for coffee, because it has a lesser diuretic effect, has been shown to increase metabolism, and contains tons of antioxidants. Non-tea-drinkers can try hot water and lemon, which I love in the winter months.
Be Wise About What Time You Drink Coffee
If you still want to fill your body with caffeine but don’t want to be up all night thinking about everything in the entire universe, choose your timing wisely. Contrary to your brain’s demands, the best time to have your first cup is not straight out of bed, due to the fact that cortisol levels are the highest in the morning, and you don't need coffee when your body is at its peak alertness. According to this article, the optimal time for your first cup of coffee is between 9:30 and 11:30 am. Also, a cup of coffee will stimulate you for five to six hours, so make sure your last cup is at least five hours before bedtime.
Thanks to the above, my habit is down to two to three cups per day. How many cups of coffee do you drink in an average day?