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How to Wake Up Feeling Revived without Caffeine
Step 1: Learn about the negative effects of caffeine
Before you decide whether or not to wake up with coffee, you may want to examine some of the health effects of caffeine. Caffeine blocks a chemical in the body known as adenosine, which tells the body to shut down when tired. Keeping that chemical continuously blocked can lead to some of the following health effects:
- Panic attacks: You may not know that caffeine keeps us up by triggering our bodies' fight-or-flight response. If you keep your body in this state for too long, that response gets reduced to panic attacks. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has even suggested that products with caffeine in them should carry a warning label. Caffeine may not cause you panic attacks, but the CSPI recommends that people with panic disorders should avoid caffeine altogether.
- Emotional fatigue: Caffeine wakes up your body but fails to tell it when it's time to rest. Your body needs that rest, and when it isn't forthcoming, emotional fatigue sets in.
- Dehydration: According to Dr. Katherine Zeratsky of the Mayo Clinic, caffeine can cause dehydration but only if you are drinking 5-7 cups or more a day.
- PMS: According to the Ash Center for Comprehensive Medicine, women who drink a lot of coffee and eat a lot of chocolate are more likely to experience pre-menstrual syndrome. All those nasty side effects from that time of the month are made more acute by caffeine.
Now that you are fully cognizant of some of the lesser-known side effects of caffeine, you'll need to find some type of replacement for that morning cuppa joe.
Step 2: Prepare for the morning the night before
You can set yourself up for success in the morning by preparing the night before. By preparing, I mean getting the proper amount of rest. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average person needs 7-9 hours of sleep each night, but few actually get that much shut-eye. Most people force themselves to operate on far less sleep.
Step 3: Turn up the lights
Immediately turn up all the lights around you. This can help trick the body into thinking that it is time to be up and about. A study released in 2000 by French researchers at Université Toulouse Le Mirail showed that exposure to bright lights at night increased nocturnal alertness and performance in study participants.
Step 4: Start your day with a workout
Rather than beginning the day with a cup of coffee or caffeinated tea, start with a workout. Not only does working out produce positive health benefits, former Navy SEAL and fitness author Stew Smith says it is effective at waking your body up without caffeine. Working out also sets you up for a more positive day.
Step 5: Hydrate yourself
Starting the day off with water can actually energize your body. Harris R. Lieberman, PhD, of the US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine in Natick, Mass., states that reductions in hydration as low as 1 or 2 percent have negative effects on the ability to think clearly. Drinking water to maintain hydration increases alertness. According to the Mayo Clinic, it takes about eight eight-oz. glasses of water daily to replace fluids lost from perspiration, breath, urine and bowel movements.
These five simple steps are easily done and do not require a significant change in lifestyle. By taking these steps, you will no longer be subjecting yourself to the negative health effects of caffeine, and if you add it up, at $2.00 a cup, you might also be saving yourself about $100 a month. Skip that cuppa joe tomorrow, and grab an apple instead. Apples have glucose which fuels the brain, giving you natural energy.