Get Empowered: Cut Down on Caffeine

Every morning in the midst of the breakfast buzz, the line at the coffee shop swarms with students. Knowing that they have to get here early if they want to get their caffeine fix and make it to class on time, many of them has sacrificed 15 minutes of sleep and some have not slept at all.

Most mornings, I endure the line and wait with the other caffeine junkies. With my cup of coffee, I am ready to make it through the first half of the day. By the time the afternoon rolls around, I guzzle down a Diet Coke. Once I get off work, I don’t dare head back to my room without a Red Bull or some other kind of energy drink. After dinner (which is accompanied by a Diet Coke) I make a trip to Starbucks.

Until recently, I never associated the word “addiction” with myself. Now that I see just how much caffeine I consume in a day, I am starting to think twice. For many of us, caffeine is vital to our existence, but is it really helping us in the long run?

Now, I am not asking anyone to give up caffeinated beverages completely because I know from experience, it is no easy task. But, you may want to start monitoring just how many cups of coffee, Red Bull, Diet Coke, etc. you actually need to get through a day. Looking at the pros and cons of caffeine may make you think twice before you reach for that latte.

One of the biggest perks of caffeine is that it wakes you up. This is probably the main reason why most of us drink coffee. Caffeine intake also results in a positive mood change and can alleviate headaches. Giving you a jolt of energy, caffeine can also enhance your athletic performance. For those looking to lose weight, caffeine curbs your appetite. There are also studies that suggest caffeine may reduce the risk of diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.

Despite all these benefits, caffeine is addictive. Contrary to popular belief, it is not a good alternative to sleep. Caffeine intake increases your heart rate and blood pressure. It can also increase your risk of developing Osteoporosis later in life. Too much caffeine can also cause gastrointestinal issues. Trying to cut back on caffeine often results in headaches, dizziness and irritability.

Although the task of cutting back seems daunting, here are some suggestions to help you start. Try working out in the morning. This boosts your endorphins and is the perfect morning pick-me-up. Instead of coffee, choose an herbal tea. Some teas are even energy-boosters. A sensible alternative would be to manage your time better. Cut back on watching TV and set aside more time for sleep. Taking short naps throughout the day is also a smart idea.

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