Kicking the caffeine habit can be incredibly difficult but well worth the effort. Your sleep will be longer and of higher quality and your overall health will improve. Caffeine is a powerful stimulant that can last up to seven hours. For people who have liver problems or who are taking oral contraceptives or other medications, caffeine’s effects can last even longer. Caffeine interferes with the body’s natural regulatory rhythms and chronic use of it can leave you perpetually out of balance and regularly struggling for sleep. Giving up caffeine helps acid reflux as well as sleeplessness and anxiety.
Start by reading labels and becoming aware. Wean yourself off anything that contains caffeine such as colas (20-60mg) (even Diet Coke 45mg), energy drinks (50-16000mg), and chocolate (10mg – darker the chocolate, the higher the caffeine content). Hopefully soda won’t be a problem because you have already stopped drinking it because you know the dangers of it) then start eliminating those not so obvious sources, like decaf coffee (20mg), some herbal teas, some sodas (root beer, Mountain Dew 54mg, Sunkist Orange 41mg) ice cream (30-45mg) and even some over the counter pain relievers medications such as Anacin (32mg) and Excedrin (65mg).
The biggest offender is coffee and the best way to kick the coffee habit is to taper off in small increments to avoid withdrawal symptoms (especially the headaches). The goal is to slowly decrease your caffeine consumption so your body can acclimate over time.
Here’s my 7 day strategy to set you free:
- Day 1: Have your usual amount of coffee.
- Day 2: Day 5: Blend your regular coffee with 50% decaf (preferably certified organic).
- Day 6: Have 25% regular coffee, 75% decaf
- Day 7: Drink pure decaf.
Bonus Plan: Day 8-9 half decaf and half Dandy Blend (herbal coffee substitute with the health benefits of dandelion root and has the taste of rich, full-bodied coffee) or other healthy coffee alternative (Teeccino is another good herbal “coffee”).