How to

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

Last Updated: August 15, 2017

52 Comments

  1. Jennifer

    This morning I woke up with a headache that felt like my head has been trampled by a stampede. It’s Day one of quitting coffee. My daily habit of a medium sized triple triple (3 cream, 3 sugar) and that’s been roughly over 3 years.
    I drank water, took 3 advils for 5 hours to make it go away, before caving in and getting the coffee. The headache is gone, so is 3/4 of the coffee. The defeated feeling comes in.
    I came here looking for healthier ways to cut caffeine out and am glad to have read other stories and see products that are available.
    Thank you for this website and all those who’ve shared their stories! Tomorrow will be Day one: the sequel! And with more knowledge!

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach)

      Hi Jennifer, Glad you found my site. Gradually weaning is definitely a better way to go, if you want to still function! All the best!

      Reply
  2. Katelyn M

    I’ve been drinking Atleast one cup of coffee a day since I was about 13. It’s been 10yrs & I now drink 2 coffees a day 2big energy drinks 1 soda & a water/Gatorade everyday. On my days off when I want to relax at home, I wake up and don’t make myself or go get coffee. I find myself slugging around not wanting to do anything & if I don’t drink a caffeinated beverage a migraine comes around 2. I eventually cave, go to a store balling my eyes out & buying a coffee slowly in the parking lot with my nightly eye cover on my face. Eventually falling asleep in my car. My addiction is horrible. I’ve over done it. now that I try not to have any it feels like it could literally kill me if I don’t drink it. I’m willing to stay away from it for the rest of my life if I could. I just don’t know how. I stopped drinking coffee and picked up energy drinks. Now I drink both. I slapped my ownself in the face with one.

    Reply
  3. David lister

    I’m trying to give up tea …I have stopped taking any pain medication and have cut down to one cup of tea every 24 hours …the issue is that by hour 22 I have a quite a bad headache and the cup I then has clears it up..could you suggest something …I’ve only been doing this one week …on one hand it feels stupid to put up with 2 hours of pain …but I really want to stick to one a day…

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer (Macro Coach)

      Hey David, Check out the product Wean Caffeine. It looks like you would need just one box to get you to zero mg a day systematically without the headaches. https://www.weancaffeine.com/

      Reply
  4. Ken MacPhee

    I’ve mentioned this before on this site , everyone seems to ignore. Whenever I would quit coffee I would get a bad headache a day later, usually in the afternoon. Then I decided to take an intestinal bulk cleanser like the type that has psyllium the day before and during and no headache. Nada, zilch,zero. A year later I did it again and announced starting it on this site, same thing, no headache. Jus sayin.

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer (Macro Coach)

      Thanks for the tip, Ken!

      Reply
  5. LRay Campbell

    I’m 47 and I have been addicted to caffeine pills for over 17 yrs now I use to take 15 a day now I take 10 if I dnt take them my body shuts down on me my muscles ache my joints hurt I’m angry with everyone and everything irritates me I really dnt know what to do I’m all out of options

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer

      You should gradually step down your dose by about a 1/4 a pill every 3 days. There’s also Wean Caffeine which does this for you in a precise way. https://www.weancaffeine.com/

      Reply
  6. Yolanda Smith

    I am a caffeine pill taker very addicted

    Reply
  7. aruna sodha

    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
  8. Chanelle

    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

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

      Reply
    • Dana

      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
    • Sandra

      Hello, 15-20 cups is very extreme with no water. Dehydration and a lot of mood swings sound no fun. Save yourself before it’s to late! I drink coffee as well and I am tring to quit cold turkey. I am replacing my habit with maca powder, cacoa powder and green tea and dandilion tea for detoxing by switching it around depending what I feel to take which of. Try out these paticular things but make sure you follow directions on how much to take of maca and cacoa powder. Mix them with a smoothy or just milk and spoon and it will for sure give you that energy spike but it has health bennifits also with the teas so you won’t feel guilty. Another suggestion is to take himalayan salt with very warm water in the morning time to kick start your adrenals and help them work and it helps build up energy when you drink it!!! Look it up for yourself. Us coffee drinkers need are adreanal glands working and not give up on us if it’s not to late. Hope this gives you some alternative to try out but you have to keep doing these things daily to feel the difference. Have a good day and good luck!

      Reply
    • Teresa Taylor

      First, you don’t have to quit drinking coffee. You just need to quit drinking regular coffee. You can continue you coffee habit with decaf coffee. In order to get there, though, you need to wean yourself off the coffee. Start by substituting 1/4 decaf for you regular grinds when you make it. If you’re buying it, you can still do the substitution. After 1 or 2 weeks, switch to 1/2 regular and 1/2 decaf. After another 1 or 2 weeks, change it to 3/4 decaf and 1/4 regular. After another 1 or 2 weeks you can go full decaf or stay at the 3/4 decaf and 1/4 regular. If you’re making your own, you’re better off just making the complete switch. You DO need to drink water and reduce the amount of coffee, but you don’t need to eliminate coffee. And if espresso is your bag, buy whole bean decaf and use the espresso grind on the machine at the store. Espresso is the way a coffee is prepared, not a type of hyped-up super-caffeinated cuppa joe. I’ve been drinking one regular coffee in the am and decaf all day (including decaf espresso after dinner) for years. Oh, I’m addicted to hazelnut coffee. So all of my coffee, creamer and sugar free syrup is hazelnut. If you really try, you can make your “addiction” healthy and not harmful. It’s about moderation.

      Reply
  9. Amanda Nickerson

    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

      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