Caffeine has quickly risen to be one of the most recreationally used drugs. One 2013 survey found that nearly 80% of the U.S. population consumed caffeine. When dependent on caffeine it can be difficult to maintain energy levels throughout the day.
More than likely, if you are reading this article, you have come to your wits end with your energy levels and are looking for alternatives to caffeine. With the FDA stating that four to five cups of coffee a day is a safe limit, some may find even that after drinking that amount of caffeine they still need more energy in the day.
Rather than reaching for that sixth cup of coffee that puts you over that 400mg of coffee threshold, it may be time to look to other ways to increase your energy and alertness.
Below are five ways in which you can have more energy without caffeine. While a cup of coffee can be enjoyable and a quick pick me up, having a reliance on caffeine can ultimately keep you feeling tired when you go without it. Making lifestyle changes and living a healthy lifestyle can significantly improve your energy level in addition to having positive impacts on your life.
Reduce caffeine dependence
The first step to getting more energy without caffeine is to curb caffeine addiction. Caffeine is classified as a stimulant, which by definition is a drug that increases activity in the nervous system, which in turn provides a sensation of alertness, wakefulness, and energy.
Like any addiction, it can be difficult to quit as your body can build up a dependence on the substance and experience withdrawal symptoms.
To understand the body's response to caffeine a little better, you need to understand the underlying mechanism as to how caffeine works.
When you consume caffeine through tea, coffee, or an energy drink, the caffeine molecule is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream through the intestinal walls. The caffeine molecule is able to pass into the brain where it interacts with your neurons.
More specifically, caffeine blocks the binding of the neurotransmitter adenosine to its receptor. Normal adenosine function involves the gradual binding of adenosine throughout the day which helps you feel tired and go to sleep. With a night's sleep adenosine levels break down and the cycle starts over again. When caffeine comes in, caffeine inhibits the binding of adenosine, which results in a sense of alertness.
The build-up of caffeine dependence is caused by your body's attempt to adapt to caffeine. The neurons create more adenosine receptors to try and bind adenosine. Caffeine can cause blood vessels in the brain to constrict slowing down blood flow. If you don’t drink caffeine and you have a dependency, this decrease in caffeine opens up and increases blood flow to the brain which can cause headaches, one of the symptoms of withdrawal.
To have more energy without caffeine you need to re-establish your natural brain chemistry by avoiding caffeine. After a week or two, your body will naturally decrease the number of adenosine receptors and continue on with a fully functioning adenosine cycle.
Create good sleep habits
Without caffeine you may now wonder how you're supposed to get through the day.
The first thing you should focus on to have more energy is to get the best night’s sleep possible. Sleep has a restorative property within our body as many chemical and mental changes occur during sleep. Establishing good sleep habits is the best thing you can do for your energy level.
The first habit you should build is to create a consistent sleep schedule. Just like you are required to get to work on time, make sure you are disciplined and going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.
Sleep is commonly not a priority to people as they will stay up late watching movies, or wake up late on the weekends. While these may sound like a fun time, they are detrimental to your ability to have a good night's sleep. By establishing a strict routine you are effectively training your body to subconsciously get tired and wake up based on the time of day.
The next sleep habit you should tackle is creating a morning and night routine. For your night routine, take 30 minutes before you go to bed to dim the lights and do something that does not utilize a screen.
By reducing the amount of light exposure before you go to bed and doing a relaxing task, it can be easier to fall asleep once your head hits the pillow.
For a morning routine you should try and do the opposite. Get as much light exposure as you can and get out of bed and move around. It can be tempting to pull the covers over your head and go back to sleep, but by creating a morning routine you can train yourself to instinctively get out of bed and get your day started.
Getting enough sleep is a key component to having more energy without the utilization of stimulants like caffeine.
Eat a healthy diet
Another component to having energy without the use of caffeine is to ensure that you are feeding your body with quality nutrition and calories. A great way to think about food is to think of it as fuel. For you to feel energized and good all day long, you need to fuel your body with quality and nutritious food. Without the assistance of caffeine, your diet needs to be on point to give you energy.
There are numerous different micronutrients, vitamins, and minerals that can be obtained through foods that help with your energy. Eating a diet consisting of high sugar, saturated fats, and preservatives are starving you of those much needed nutrients.
A great place to start with your diet is to cut all processed foods and to try your best to eat a whole-food, vegetable-heavy diet. A great reference point for the kind of diet you should strive for is the Mediterranean diet, which consists mainly of vegetables, fish, and natural healthy unsaturated fats like olive oil.
Exercise is another great way to facilitate more energy throughout the day. When you exercise, it puts healthy stress on your muscles, bones, and cardiovascular system. While everyone is familiar with the physical benefits of exercise, the mental and energy level benefits are immense as well.
Exercising to energize yourself may seem counterproductive as you are expending energy to work out. The reason exercise can make you feel more energized is that the body releases good chemicals known as endorphins. Endorphins are essentially like your body's natural drugs and can help with your sensation of alertness and awareness.
Exercises also facilitate awakeness by raising the core body temperature. During the course of the day, your body undergoes a gradual incline in body temperature and a gradual decline at night. Your core body temperature has an effect on your sensation of alertness and wakefulness. By working out you are increasing your core body temperature signals to your body that it should be awake. Getting your energy out through exercise can also aid in your ability to sleep well.
Exercise has many physiological benefits to your overall well-being and impacts your ability to feel energized in three distinct manners By getting a couple of minutes of exercise into your day, you could potentially increase your energy which could help you kick caffeine.
While getting adequate nutrition naturally through your diet is ideal, there are some nutrients that are hard to get the necessary levels through via diet alone. Supplementation is a great choice to help you ensure you are getting the necessary amounts of these vitamins and minerals.
There are many vitamins, minerals, and supplements that can help with energy. Energy supplements aim to increase your energy levels by providing you with a mixture of vitamins for energy that you could be deficient in. Some of these ingredients that recharge your cells include CoQ10, L-Carnitine, Magnesium, B-Complex, Iron, and Vitamin D.
MitoQ has specifically formulated supplements that contain some of these ingredients in highly bioavailable forms when possible. With many different formulas available, MitoQ has you covered for whatever supplemental support you need!
Caffeine is an incredibly potent molecule that has the ability to give you instantaneous energy. Through repeat and regular use, you can develop a dependency that hooks you into constantly chasing more energy through caffeine.
Kicking a caffeine habit is not easy, but once you do and start promoting your self-care you may find that your body has an abundance of natural energy.
Through creating good sleep habits, eating right, exercising, and supplements you can give your body the best shot at having lasting and sustainable energy all day long without having to resort to caffeine.