Staying energized without coffee

Courtney Dickson, Roving Editor Ω

Coffee doesn't have to be the reason you're able to stay awake through your lectures. - PHOTO COURTESY JENNIFER K. WARREN/FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

Coffee doesn’t have to be the reason you’re able to stay awake through your lectures. – PHOTO COURTESY JENNIFER K. WARREN/FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

This society’s dependency on coffee and all things infused with energy is getting out of control. I’ve noticed many of my peers replacing entire meals with a caffeinated beverage over the past few months. Why have we become so reliant on, what is essentially, a performance-enhancing and addictive drug?

I gave up caffeine recently as part of a healthy lifestyle change a friend and I made. My routine for six months prior had been having at least four cups of coffee every day to keep me going, so this did not seem like it was going to be a successful endeavour.

I’m not just talking coffee. I’m talking about those giant energy drinks, caffeine-packed teas and in all seriousness, pop, as well. Any student and anyone in the journalism school in particular, can agree that this is probably nuts.

But, I quickly learned why quitting caffeine is such a good idea.

I now know when I’m actually tired and am able to fix it naturally. Caffeine gives drinkers a false sense of alertness which can lead to quicker burn-outs and mental and physical illness.

By not drinking coffee alone, I’ve saved roughly $20 per week. If I can continue for just one year, I could save more than $1,000. That’s without including the money I’d probably spend on pop and caffeinated tea. I’ve been bringing water or tea from home that I know is free of caffeine.

I’m also saving time by not standing in 15-minute line-ups waiting to order my extra-large coffee with four creams.

The best part is, according to sports editor Adam Williams, I haven’t been any grumpier than I was when I was consuming caffeine regularly.

So with all these advantages, why does quitting caffeine seem so impossible?

Health Canada recommends that adults consume no more than 400 mg of caffeine per day, in order to avoid adverse effects including, but not limited to, tremors, nausea, increased blood pressure and increased heart rate. Of course, this number varies depending on the presence of other health conditions and pregnancy.

We’re all exhausted. Not a day goes by where you ask someone how he or she is doing and the response isn’t “sleepy,” or “exhausted.” There are other ways to keep going that don’t include giving in to a caffeine addiction.

If you want to stay awake, get some exercise, fresh air, or the obvious solution, get enough sleep at night. Do things you enjoy to keep your life balanced and stress at a minimum. Then, you too could quit caffeine and save money, time and your sanity.