We love coffee as much as the next, but sometimes we all need a break. Sometimes you just want a natural energy boost, or to cut back on your caffeine intake, or to simply try something different.
No prob, we got you.
Here are 7 caffeine alternatives (and a few bonus low-caffeine options) to do just that.
1. A good night’s sleep
Number one on the list is the power of a good night’s sleep. We’re not talking about one “lucky” night’s sleep where you just happened to do the right things. We’re talking about true, high-quality and consistent sleep.
When you settle into a steady sleep routine, you’ll be amazed at how much more rested you feel in the mornings and the amount of energy you have.
To achieve a better night’s sleep and these benefits, follow these rules:
- Plan to fall asleep and wake up around the same time each day. This keeps your circadian rhythm, i.e. your body’s internal clock, on a consistent schedule. If you have an erratic sleep schedule, you’ll feel energy dips and spikes at random times as a result of your circadian rhythm trying to constantly adjust.
- Shoot for 7-9 hours of sleep (as an adult).
- Have a wind-down routine at night. You can’t expect to go immediately go from full-throttle to sleeping like a baby. You have to ease into it.
- Turn your bedroom into a sleep-friendly environment: keep it dark, keep it cool, and keep it quiet. If you can’t control the outside noise (or if you hate silence), try a white noise machine.
Need a powerful energy boost without all the caffeine? Go for a short run. Exercise is proven to get your blood pumpin’ and release a surge of endorphins that boost energy long after your workout’s over.
If you’re consistent (there’s that word again), exercise improves your body’s baseline fitness making you better equipped to handle day-to-day stressors that previously would have weighed you down.
Plus, exercising during the day means your body will be craving a sound night’s sleep to rest and recover, which makes falling asleep at nighttime that much easier.
3. Eat a well-balanced diet and supplement
Something crazy like 92% of the U.S. population is nutrient deficient in some form or fashion. If you don’t think that’s a big deal, think again.
The body requires a lot of various vitamins and minerals - commonly referred to as micronutrients - in order to function properly. Lack of these key nutrients leads to all sorts of acute and chronic illnesses...and low energy.
That’s why it’s important to eat a well-balanced diet but to also supplement when you can’t get all of your micronutrients from whole foods.
Diet and supplementation is not something we can fully cover in this short guide, so instead, we’ll briefly touch on two vitamins that play a particularly important role in health and energy (and are two that you’re likely deficient in) - vitamin D and vitamin B12.
Vitamin B12 especially plays a key role in nerve and blood cell health, which can prevent things like anemia that reduce energy levels.
Ginseng is a popular supplement in Asian culture, often taken as a caffeine alternative, to boost energy levels. And for good reason, too.
A review of more than 155 studies suggests that ginseng may not only reduce fatigue but also improves physical fitness.
In addition, it’s rich in antioxidants which makes it a potential immune system booster, meaning you’re better suited for fighting colds and illnesses that drain energy.
5. Rhodiola Rosea
Rhodiola rosea is an herb grown in cold, mountainous regions like those found across Europe and Asia. Widely used as an adaptogen (i.e. a natural stress reliever), it’s also been shown to reduce fatigue and improve focus.
One study in particular, where 100 people with chronic fatigue symptoms received a daily 400 mg dose of rhodiola for eight weeks, revealed the herb was able to provide “significant improvements” in stress symptoms, fatigue, happiness, and concentration.
The cool part is that these improvements were noticeable after just one week of taking rhodiola and continued to improve over the remaining seven weeks of the study.
Sometimes you may just be feeling weak and/or fatigued because your body lacks sugar. The cure for this is a healthy dose of carbohydrates. And as far as healthy carbohydrates go, bananas are some of the best.
They taste great, are very affordable, relatively low in calories, and offer the boost in energy you may be looking for.
Plus, they’re rich in potassium and B vitamins, which as we discovered above, are good candidates for improving energy.
7. Home-made energy shakes
When all else fails, one of my favorite things to do is to shove some of the above into a blender, mix them up with some greens and protein powder, and make a healthy energy shake.
My go-to shake contains:
- 1 to 2 cups of Almond milk (unsweetened regular or vanilla)
- 1 handful of spinach
- 1 banana (sliced up to help the blender out)
- 1 to 2 scoops of protein powder
- 1 dash of cinnamon
The greens offer a balanced boost in some key vitamins and nutrients, and the bananas are what really make the shake taste delicious (in addition to the benefits shown above).
Quick. Easy. And improves energy levels.
Bonus: A few low-caffeine alternatives
If you’re not quite looking to cut caffeine completely out of your day and just want to limit your intake, you may want to try one of these three low-caffeine alternatives instead:
In addition to energy, black tea offers improved cholesterol and better gut health.
Contains lower levels of caffeine than black tea but packs a serious punch in healthy antioxidants.
We’re a little biased, but the Midnight Oil blend is a splendid way to give you a little extra kick without an insane amount of caffeine.
At least one of these caffeine alternatives may be for you!
We get that everybody needs a caffeine break from time-to-time, which is why - as a coffee company, aka a company that literally survives on the sales of caffeine - we’re more than willing to offer some alternatives to help you out.
Give them a try and see which works best for you.