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3 Tips to Help You Quit Coffee

Sure, you can try to quit coffee. But you'll probably fail without a strategy.

By Otis T.K.

Our society is chronically over-caffeinated and under-rested. And that’s not a coincidence. As sleep researcher Dr. Matthew Walker points out in an interview with Michael Pollan, “If you plot the rise in Starbucks coffee shops over the past 30 years, then plot the rise in sleep deprivation on that same chart, the lines are very similar.” For many, being hyped up on hundreds of milligrams of caffeine, only to await a night of restless sleep, has become the norm. We’ve been trapped in this cycle for so long we can’t remember a time when caffeine wasn’t a central part of our lives. But there is another way.


Want to quit coffee and not sure where to start? Try a 30-day coffee detox. Add in the following tips to make the habit stick. It’s helpful to commit to a period, be it 30, 60 or 90 days, so you can reset your adrenals and get back to your baseline.


Tip 1: Support Your Local Sunrise

Improving your sleep will help you feel more alert during the day. This positive cycle will help you quit coffee. How can you enhance your sleep? Try getting sunlight in your eyes early in the morning.

Confused? Sunlight to sleep? What's this bloke on about?

There’s a group of cells in the back of your retina called the melanopsin ganglions. These cells respond to light and trigger the feeling of wakefulness. But this gang of cells doesn’t respond to just any light. In order to trigger activation, they need blues and yellows—the colours that paint the sky within about an hour of sunrise. If you step outside during this magical time, even for a few minutes, the retinal ganglion cells will send an electrical pulse to a structure just above the roof of your mouth called the suprachiasmatic nucleus. This structure communicates to all of the other organs and tissues of your body that it’s time to WAKE UP! This anchors your circadian rhythm.


Tip 2: Rise and Exercise

Exercising early is a powerful tool to quit coffee. If you're feeling sluggish on your 30-day coffee detox, raising your temperature first thing in the morning will induce wakefulness through a healthy spike in cortisol. Although cortisol gets a bad reputation, it's necessary for our survival. Acute short-lasting spikes through exercise are healthy. Set your alarm at sunrise, then do a quick workout—even a few minutes of skipping will do. After a few days, your brain will build an anticipatory circuit and you’ll start to wake up around this time naturally.


Tip 3: Plunge Your Caffeine Sins

Morning cold plunges can also help you quit coffee. In those first challenging days of your coffee detox, you'll need all the help you can get to feel alert and energised. Ice baths (or turning your shower down to cold) are also effective ways to induce wakefulness. Cold plunging has a rebound effect on your body temperature, and after you exit that shivery state of euphoria, your body temperature will begin to climb. Cold plunges also trigger a release of norepinephrine, a powerful neurotransmitter that increases brain function. Dr. Rhonda Patrick, a biochemist and leading researcher in ageing, cancer and nutrition, has shown that norepinephrine levels are five times higher in people who regularly cold plunge. So take some deep breaths and let's get those nips as cold as ice!


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