When people ask me how I survive without caffeine, I often tell them it's simply because I don't need it. "But like what about coffee?", most would say. Despite not liking the bitter taste, I choose not to drink coffee because of the addicting measure linked to the pleasurable aroma that leads to overconsumption. Some clinical studies have reported that too much caffeine can lead to addiction. When you get to the point of needing a morning cup just like the air you breathe, it's time to admit you have a problem. Now don't get me wrong. I'm not saying caffeine is bad. It's great in moderation. But college kids shouldn't have to be dependent on coffee every single morning to get them awake and ready for class. Here are five reasons to moderate your caffeine consumption to avoid over-dependance and addiction.
Cut back gradually.
No college student dependent on their morning cup of coffee is going to just immediately stop drinking it all at once. Trying to go cold turkey when you're taking in a lot of caffeine usually calls for a disaster. At the worst, one may have a pressing headache and feel miserable for the rest of the day. Cutting back your caffeine consumption gradually can help mitigate the withdrawal symptoms such as headaches and anxiety. Start off slow to make better habits.
Count how many cups you drink.
Does anyone keep count of how many cups they drink? How many times does a college student go to Starbucks or Dunkin in a week? Because of having local coffee shops on campus, many college students find the convenience of buying coffee before or after class. The caffeine from the coffee allows the student to stay awake and focus better throughout the day. However, too many cups of coffee can become mildly addictive (and expensive). Take note of your consumption for a few days and mark how cups you drink. This will help you track your intake and show where you need to make adjustments.
Change up your normal order.
If your normal drink is usually a multi-shot espresso, it may be time to consider something with a little less caffeine. This may sound awful to coffee fans, but switching from caffeinated brews to half-caffeinated ones lets you switch up your normal order with half the caffeine. You will see progress by stepping down the consumption gradually instead of all once.
Switch to a low or non-caffeine alternative.
Now if half-caffeinated coffee doesn't appeal to you, try switching to a low or non-caffeinated alternative. Herbal teas and water are both ideal options for people trying to lower their caffeine intake. Switching one or two cups of coffee per day with tea and a glass of water can make a huge difference. Researchers have studied that most caffeinated beverages don't hydrate you before. A little water - even mixed with fruit or other mixers - can help you stay hydrated and away from caffeine. Not to mention water has no calories!
Another way to fight caffeine addiction is through exercise. Exercise releases endorphins which helps to curve headaches and stress. Instead of going to a coffee shop to study for a few extra hours, try taking a break and go to the gym to destress. Regular exercise has emotional, mental, and physical benefits. Cutting back your caffeine intake and keeping it under control can be valuable to making your workouts more effective.
You don't have to give up caffeine entirely to keep it under control. Whatever the reason is for moderating your consumption, you can still learn to love coffee without being entirely dependent on it every day. Two to three cups is not bad, but when it comes to drinking four to five, things can get risky. Cut back your consumption slowly to avoid headaches and irritability. Switching to herbal teas or water can help as well! All in all, you should be able to survive college without being completely caffeine dependent. Enjoy a few cups of coffee with friends but don't feel like you should overconsume to compensate for lack of sleep. Hydrate, exercise, and rest to perform well and get that degree!