Starting your day without that familiar kick of caffeine can be tough. Many of us drink coffee and energy drinks in order to stay awake, but this habit can turn into a dependency that’s hard to break. For those who are addicted to caffeine, missing your morning coffee can lead to headaches, irritability, lethargy and trouble concentrating.

If you want to kick your caffeine addiction, but still need a little boost to help get you through your day, here are some alternatives that you can try:

Eat healthy food

Sometimes the best answer is the simplest. If you feel like your body is running out of fuel, it probably is. This study on exercise fatigue found that people who ate breakfast could work out for significantly longer before they got tired. If you’re feeling sleepy during the day, try adding breakfast to your routine, or eating a bigger breakfast. If you experience a drop in energy in the afternoon, see what a healthy snack can do for you.

caffeine, stay awake, without caffeine

Exercise

The relationship between exercise and sleep is complicated because different studies have come to different conclusions. This UK study found that exercise promotes wakefulness, which may be helpful for individuals who need to stay awake longer.

Anecdotally, many people report that they feel more awake and energized after a morning workout. This may be a case of, “The data isn’t in yet, so for now, do what’s best for you.” Try working out in the morning and see if you still need your coffee.

Ginger

This root is good for so much more than cooking stir fry. It has many evidence-based wellness uses, including alleviating nausea and promoting vigilance. This study found that ginger significantly improved people’s performance on a vigilance test, which involved reacting to a stimulus as quickly as possible.

You can incorporate fresh ginger into a smoothie, or you can take a ginger pill. The participants in the study took 500 mg of ginger daily.

caffeine, stay awake, without caffeine

Ginseng

Ginseng is a root that has historically been used as a remedy for fatigue and irregular sleep patterns. Although no clinical trials have been done to test its effectiveness in humans, this study found that ginseng stabilized sleep and wakefulness cycles in rats.

Essential oils

Some studies have shown that aromatherapy with essential oils can increase alertness. This study, for example, measured how quickly and accurately participants completed math problems before and after an aromatherapy session. Participants who inhaled the scent of rosemary essential oil became more alert and solved the math problems more quickly.

Another study found that peppermint essential oil was effective in staving off sleepiness. When participants sat in a dark room with no odor, they became sleepy much more quickly than when they sat in a dark room with the scent of peppermint.

Life without coffee may seem impossible, but all you need to break the habit are some simple, creative solutions. Once you get past the headaches and irritability, you might find that both your energy and your mood are better in the long run.


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