The 6 Steps To Beating Your Caffeine Addiction

Have you ever felt jittery and stressed, all because you drink too much caffeine?

Ever noticed how many calories are in coffee? Maybe you’ve tried to cut down but it’s too hard.

Caffeine is one of the most researched substances in the world. It has benefits, and it can be harmful.

It’s all about moderation, but the more we consume the more our body builds a tolerance. If we’re not careful we can overload our adrenal glands and become stuck in a cycle of fatigue.

Also, caffeine can greatly affect our quantity and quality of sleep each night.

Here are 6 steps to help you reset your system.

1. Substitute With Green Tea

green-tea
Start substituting one of your daily coffees with a cup of green tea.

Continue substituting little by little.

  • If you drink 4 coffees a day, begin by drinking 3 coffees and one green tea.
  • A day later (or a few days – depending on how tough going it is) move that down to two coffees and two green teas.

Green tea still contains caffeine but in far less amounts – and is also an all-round healthy drink.

2. Addressing the Social Experience

cafe

Part of coffee drinking is the experience of sitting at a café in good company and savoring the drink. Somehow paying $4 for someone to bring out a cup of hot water with a tea bag dangling out of it just doesn’t measure up.

Find cafés that offer tea infusions or herb tea in plungers.

I’m talking about the ones that bring out little pots of real herb tea (not tea bags). The experience is completely different to staring at a cup with a tea bag in it. Most herb teas are caffeine-free.

3. Use Other Milky Drinks

tea-jug

For many people, coffee means a big milky latte. There’s something about clutching that hot milky drink that is therapy in the morning.

Try substituting with Hot Chocolate, Chai Latte, or even a hot vanilla almond milk. Unfortunately hot chocolates tend to be very high in sugar, so go easy!

4. Take Care With Carbs

muffins

Do you struggle with afternoon fatigue? That awful period after lunch where you cannot concentrate or struggle to stay awake and alert?

It would be wonderful if we could all hunker down under the desk and take a nap – but most bosses would not be impressed.

Here’s a clue: Do not eat a carbohydrate heavy lunch.

Make sure your lunch has a strong protein component in it. Something like a tin of tuna, or some nuts.

I used to think I was doing my body a favor by eating a huge low-fat sweet bun (along with a large bread roll). An hour later I was struggling to stay awake.

Here are 10 great snacks for more energy.

5. The Power Nap

napping
Napping at work is not going to make your boss happy – but if you are in an environment where it is possible – try it.

Researchers have shown that a power nap is more helpful than a cup of coffee. The optimal power nap is a 20 minute siesta taken at about 2.30pm.

6. Addressing Habits

coffee-stop

Often our food and drink choices are very habitual. We accompany certain activities with certain food and drinks.

If caffeine consumption is linked to a routine, you will need to address the routine. Do it one small step at a time.

Got a Soda Habit? Check out our guide for quitting that habit too.

Here’s also a great quitting caffeine resource from Caffeine Informer.

Results: What You Can Expect

I was able to completely stop drinking caffeine for a month or so while I sorted out my sleep patterns and addressed a stressful situation.

Once I was completely healthy again I would begin enjoying a one or two espresso’s a day.

That may seem counter-productive – but under normal circumstances, I have no problem with moderate caffeine intake and enjoy the bitter taste of coffee.

Images: coffee / tea / cafe / carbs / nap / pot

40 Comments

  1. aruna sodha 1 week ago

    hi ..i m 42 yrs old. i take max 2 cups of tea n 1 glass of cold coffee..i wanna totally quit as its creating a lot of acid in me n rather than get stimulated.. my b.p becms low n i start feeling sleepy…… i wanna quit at any cost but unable to
    HABITUAL

    Reply
  2. Chanelle 4 weeks ago

    I am 23 … and i am addicted to coffee since i was about 17… I drink about 15-20 cups of coffee daily and NO water…and lately im so angry and crying all the time because its been 2 years since i have been trying to stop.. and my husband and family is on my case all the time (because they care).. but they just dont get the fact that i am trying and struggeling…
    I just wanted share my struggle with someone

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer 3 weeks ago

      Thanks for sharing and that sounds like a pretty intense habit. How have you been trying to quit if I may ask?

      Reply
    • Dana 3 weeks ago

      I’m so sorry to hear this. I am going thru very bad caffeine withdrawl myself for the past few days. I never knew that caffeine could be this addictive and harmful. I hope you feel better soon. Hang in there and know that there are other ppl going through this agony too.

      Reply
  3. Amanda Nickerson 1 month ago

    I am going to stop drinking coffee tomorrow. It just doesn’t make me feel good anymore. I am 100% addicted to the social aspect more than anything. It is part of my morning routine to go to the coffee shop and chat with everyone. I am armed with some green tea and am ready to give it a good solid go. I have tried and failed in the past. But, it is time to get real! Anyone have any other tips for me? Thanks for this article, it is great!

    Reply
    • JamesF 1 month ago

      Coffee drinking can become quite a ritual. It forces me to head out for a walk to my local coffee roaster – rather than sitting still all day. That’s a good thing.

      It’s not a good thing if you are experiencing negative symptoms. Have you tried cutting down the amount of coffee? Notice any difference? Could you give decaf a go? Many coffee shops have a second grinder just for decaf drinkers.

      Reply
  4. Kelley Cowles 8 months ago

    I take 4 caffeine pills that are 200 mg each everyday, I also take 3 or more powered aspirin that have about 250 mg of caffeine a day. I do not know how to stop taking them. I feel as if my life is spirialing out of control.

    Reply
    • Ted 8 months ago

      Hey Kelley, That is a lot of caffeine daily and it’s good that you are aware of the problem. That’s the first step. We developed a great resource for quitting caffeine over at caffeineinformer.com. It teaches you how to quit in a safe way and shows you how to have more energy without caffeine. Good luck and we’re all pulling for you! https://book.caffeineinformer.com/

      Reply
    • Jim Allen 4 months ago

      It’s been 4 months since you posted and I’m curious how you’re doing? In case you’re interested I’ve been showing coffee lovers how to indulge in a better ritual for
      14 years. Here’s an un-coffee kit proven to work.
      http://farwesttea.com/item/un-coffee-ritual-box
      Wishing you great success and happiness.

      Reply
  5. Chris Walker 12 months ago

    #5 Was a life changer for me. I worked an office job for years and would often crash around 2pm after the caffeine started to wear off. I have since moved into a home based business and at first experienced the same thing… after a while I built an afternoon nap into my schedule even though I thought it was stupid at the time and it really helped a lot. I felt rejuvenated afterwards and worked many more hours into the night each day where before I knocked off at 5pm. I still struggle with recovery from caffeine addiction (and am in the process of launching a website http://caffeineaddictionhelp.com on the topic) but the power nap has definitely made it more manageable.

    Reply
  6. Robert

    I drink 2 24oz cans of Monster everyday. There have been days that I drank 3 cans. I also have sleep apnea and a very stressful job. Everytime I try to quit caffeine, I never get any headaches, but instead about day 4 I get a horrible pain in my lower back and radiating across my butt and down the backs of my legs. Feels like somebody has a crushing grip on all my nerves and is trying to pull them out by sheer force.

    Pain is so bad that I can’t sleep, can’t sit and can barely walk. Resuming caffeine eases the pain after a few hours but it isn’t completely gone until I’ve been back on caffeine about 3 days.

    Caffeine seems to take forever to take effect. I start drinking on my way to work at 6 AM and I barely notice any extra wakefullness until around noon when I’m finishing my second can.

    Advice on how to break addiction without suffering so much? Is it really the caffeine that is causing the pain, or has caffeine been masking the pain and absence of caffeine is now causing the pain of some other condition come through?

    Reply
    • Ted

      Hey Robert, That sounds horrible. It definitely sounds like caffeine or something in the Monster that’s causing it. Check out this resource: https://book.caffeineinformer.com/

      Reply
      • Frank Mcdonnell

        Your trying to withdraw from caffeine to quick. Better to cut down gradually.for the first week cut down by a can. The second week by two cans.

        Reply
  7. John Sabia

    Great Advice – I found a Chocolate tea named MiCacao. (Micacao.com) It has the sweet chocolate taste and all of the health benefits of healthy chocolate but none of the caffeine associated with it. I also use coconut milk with it instead of the heavier half and half. I feel amazing every morning after drinking it.

    Reply
  8. Chuck Hamman

    Good advice. I was a 7-year coffee addict. My secret was weaning… similar to the point in this article about substituting green tea.
    Personally, I’m not crazy about green tea. I used half decaf, half regular. Eventually, I throttled back to zero. I’ve been coffee-free for 2 years. Feels great. My energy levels are consistently high, my sleep is normal and I feel like myself again.

    I wrote an article about my experience (4 step process). It’s a little easier to manage. Taking a cat nap isn’t easy when you’re working. http://www.drinksleepyhead.com/article-library/2014/11/20/4-steps-to-kick-your-addiction-to-coffee

    I hope it helps!

    Reply
    • shubham

      I am a 25 year old men, i am an addict of tea , i have to drink atleast twice a day, if i skip for any reason , results headache, gas , acdity, .. i wonna quit it. Please help, (its been an year when i started drinking tea )

      Reply
  9. Carolyn Jorgensen Potter

    If you are falling asleep after a meal, even a few hours after a meal, that is an insulin dump as a reaction to carbs in your meal. Even whole wheat bread, milk and fruit can cause an insulin dump. If you eat only protein and fat, that will not happen. Try a ketogenic diet if that is a problem for you.

    Reply
    • Scot Gray

      I am a runner, what do you recommend eating after a 15-18 mile run when the body is totally depleted from carbs? Thanks so much

      Reply
      • Christon

        If you are running that much, I doubt you are unhealthy, eat moderate carbs and protein
        No need to card dumb just because. You will be leaner.

        Reply
      • Carolyn Jorgensen Potter

        Your body can burn fat just fine, but you have to become “fat adapted” which means cut out all the carbs (I keep mine to 20 g per day). As long as you have carbs in your system, your body will go for those. But if you stop eating carbs, yor body will turn off the insulin and turn on the glucagon, and start burning fat. When your body regularly goes for the fat then you don’t hit the wall in 2 hours. I am not an athlete, but I have been eating like this for many years. google “nutritional ketosis”. There are many FB pages about it too. I have read about many athletes on line that do this. At first, when they are changing their diet, (cutting out the carbs) their performance goes down a bit, but once their body gets the hang of burning fat, their performance goes up. The only carbs I eat are leafy greens, I eat enough protein to preserve and repair lean muscle, and I eat fat for energy. I don’t get hungry, I don’t have cravings, and I can go for hours without eating and I don’t get low blood sugar. There is a book “The art and science of low carbohydrate performance” by Volek and Phinny.

        Reply
        • Hakuna Mungu

          I used to follow a low carbohydrate “nutritional ketosis” diet, did for several years. In general I felt ok, but did have to watch calories to keep from gaining weight. I am also a runner, and definitely took a hit in my running performance while on the low carb diet. I couldn’t run as fast when doing timed runs, but could still do long, slower runs ok.

          My blood pressure and cholesterol kept rising the longer I was on the low carb diet, so I had to quit for health reasons.

          I am now on a vegan diet, and have been for about 5 years now. I eat no meat or dairy products at all. My energy levels are very stable throughout the day, and my running speed and endurance are much better than when on low carb. I do find that I have to weigh myself occasionally and ensure I’m getting enough calories to maintain my weight though, probably because I eat mostly raw foods and hardly ever pasta or other processed carbs.

          I’m not saying vegan is the answer for everybody, just responding because low carb is definitely not the answer for everybody.

          Reply
  10. Victoria - SpiritualRiver.com

    Facts proven that this drink is widely popular over the world but it’s not recommended to drink it too much. Caffeine is the reason why it has a number of pros and cons. More importantly, you should limit your daily dosage or you can try another one like green tea.

    Reply
  11. Dan Mac Donald

    Everyone please have a look at this:

    http://www.doctoryourself.com/caffeine2.html

    If you`re a coffee drinker this could be the most important thing you ever read.

    Reply
  12. Petrina Supler

    This is my third time giving up caffeine (coffee), the first 2 times it
    was pretty easy I did it while I was sick with the flu and a sinus
    infection. I was taking pain meds and sleeping all day anyway, it was pretty
    easy. I slowly started drinking it again when I started a new job and
    I’m hating the dependency of it. I’ve switched to a caffeine pill, which
    at least got me out of the habit of drinking the coffee and the extra
    calories the cream and sugar would add it in when I used it, but I’ve
    tried a few times to cut the pill in half and quarters to try and reduce
    the caffeine input, but it’s not working, the headaches are unbearable.
    I have 2 little boys and I leave for work at 7am and don’t return until
    about 6pm or 8 on gym nights, so I’m on the go a lot and finding the
    time to deal with a caffeine migraine is impossible. Please give me
    suggestions of other ways to get through the headaches.

    -Petrina

    Reply
    • Ted

      First off, I would tell you that coffee is a better choice than caffeine pills. There are numerous studies that show coffee drinkers actually have less risk of disease than non-coffee drinkers. Coffee is actually loaded with antioxidants.

      So, if you aren’t quitting for health reasons.. i.e. sleeplessness, over-sensitivity, heart problems etc. I would say beat the headaches by enjoying a cup or two of coffee daily.

      As far as calories are concerned there are many ways to cut that down. Personally I learned to like it unsweetened with a little coconut milk.

      If you want to muscle through the headache . Take Advil, drink a lot of water, and get some sleep.

      I also think you may need a little caffeine with raising two boys! 🙂

      Reply
    • JamesF

      Ditto everything Ted said. He did just write a piece on caffeine headaches: http://www.energyfiend.com/caffeine-headache

      I know what it’s like to come off caffeine, and the last time I failed after 3 days. The only way for me to get over it would be to doze and do nothing for 3-4 days – something that simply won’t work with my family…

      Reply
  13. Crissy Iza

    Thank u great tips

    Reply
    • Ted

      You are so welcome! We’re glad we could help 🙂

      Reply
      • Crissy Iza

        If there is any other advice u have pls send me more . More the better thanks a bunch:-)

        Reply
        • Ted

          I would tell you to head over to energyfiend.com for just about everything you would want to know about caffeine addiction, caffeine content, caffeine withdrawal etc. 🙂

          Reply
  14. spectra311

    I drink probably a bit too much caffeine but I get a lot of it from diet soda (I know, not good) and I only drink one cup of coffee a day. I’ve been having good luck substituting water for half of my sodas to try and cut back on the caffeine and I will say this–I sleep a lot better. I also find that chewing mint gum during the day helps keep me alert without caffeine.

    Reply
    • JamesF

      I don’t have a problem with caffeine, unless it starts to get out of hand – which is often what happens once you develop a tolerance for something.

      However from time to time it is good reset your body – but it’s not always easy to do.

      Reply
    • Jill Lewis

      I do the same thing re: gum instead of caffeine. It keeps the mouth moving enough to keep me awake.

      Reply
      • JamesF

        That’s not a bad idea. Whatever you do, don’t get started on caffeinated gum. Even Wrigley got on that bandwagon with Alert – but they pulled it off the shelves back in May.

        Reply
  15. Ted

    Great tips James! There are so many reasons for people to cut back. From a $20-$30 per week Starbucks habit to just becoming tolerant to caffeine where it no longer wakes a person up, but just gets them to a state of “normal tiredness”. Coffee consumption is such a tricky thing to balance between benefiting from the antioxidants in coffee to not becoming too addicted or to not getting too much caffeine.

    Reply