I have to admit that I find it hard to start the day without my morning cup of coffee and feel so much more alive after I've had one.
However, some people I know can't get through the day without drinking endless cups of coffee. That's not good. Too much caffeine in our diet can cause anxiety, irritability and sleep disturbance – and if you don't get a good night's sleep, what's the first thing you do the next morning? Reach for the coffee machine. The cycle begins again.
If you want to try existing without your java, firstly try cutting down on the amount you drink throughout the day – especially the ones close to bedtime. Make your morning brew the last one to go as this is probably the one you enjoy the most and will cause the most withdrawal symptoms. However, if you're feeling brave enough to cut it out completely, here are seven simple tricks I've learnt to help you wake up sans coffee.
Be warned: you may feel tired, irritable and have a headache for the first few days of giving up coffee. This is just your body readjusting as the caffeine leaves your system. After a few weeks, you'll find that your coffee addiction was more of a habit and you'll wonder why you ever even liked it in the first place (well, maybe).
1. Get some light. As soon as you jump (or roll) out of bed, open all the curtains and let the sunshine in. Natural light regulates your circadian rhythm and wakes up your brain, telling you it's time to start the day. Walking around a dark house will keep you feeling sleepy and yearning to crawl back into bed.
2. Brush your teeth. The minty freshness will make you feel more awake and get rid of that horrible taste you can have in your mouth when you've just woken up.
3. Drink water. Downing a big glass of cold water first thing in the morning will rehydrate your body, give you energy and actually make you more alert than drinking coffee. Sounds unbelievable, but it's true.
4. Don't skip breakfast. Food has a great way of waking us up. Even the smell of someone cooking can rouse us from a deep sleep and make us start salivating. Eat your breakfast within an hour of getting out of bed to raise your blood sugar levels and kick-start your metabolism for the day. A good breakfast consisting of protein and complex carbohydrates should give you enough energy for the day ahead.
5. Take a cold shower. This is not the most pleasant experience in the world, but it's definitely an effective way to wake up. The cold water shocks your body, causing you to breathe deeper which in turn increases your oxygen intake and gets your heart beating faster. If you're not brave enough to step into a freezing shower yet, just splash some ice cold water onto your face.
6. Have a cup of green tea. If you don't want to give up caffeine completely in the morning, make the switch to green tea. A cup of coffee can contain up to 200mg of caffeine whereas green tea typically contains about 35mg - it'll wake you up more gently and won't cause you to crash later on. Green tea also offers a wide range of health benefits so it's a great thing to drink on a daily basis.
7. Work out. This may be the last thing you want to do when you've just woken up, but trust me, even gentle exercise will get your heart beating and blood pumping through your veins. Going for a morning run is one of the best ways to wake yourself up.
Do you rely on coffee to get going in the morning? If not, what do you do to wake yourself up?
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