Celebrate “Lazy Day” without the jitters with these caffeine-kicking tips.

By: Ian Cook, Dominican University Nutrition and Dietetics Student

Have you ever been so wired on caffeine that you can’t relax? You may have a busy schedule that requires extra energy, but too many double shots of espresso and you end up crashing at the end of the day. Thankfully, there is a solution: National Lazy Day. On August 10th, everyone gets to take a break from the daily grind and do things at your own pace. No work, no chores, no errands. Just a whole day dedicated to doing practically nothing! Lazy day gives you the perfect opportunity to take a break from caffeine and while you’re at it, shake the habit as well. Because why have excessive energy when you should be chilling out, right? Here is what you need to know about caffeine, what having too much can do, and how to cut back on Lazy Day.

Feeling Nervous?

Having too much caffeine comes with its own caveats. It has been associated with several health problems, mostly concerning the heart rate. Caffeine increases your heart rate so you can be more active. However, research has shown that having more than 400 mg a day may cause anxiety, irritability, nervousness, and insomnia. These side effects make it difficult to relax. I know that you have days when you need to be alert, but is an extra cup of coffee worth the risk of a restless night?

How Much is Enough?

Lazy days or busy days, there is only so much caffeine you should have. Sure, it can give you a pick me up, but having too much can leave you feeling stressed. According to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, most healthy adults can safely consume about 400 mg of caffeine a day, which equals about 4 cups of coffee, 10 cans of soda, and two “energy shot” drinks. (By the way, I wouldn’t recommend drinking that much soda in one day!) Adolescents can also have caffeine, but the Mayo Clinic recommends limiting the amount to no more than 100 mg a day to avoid any negative side effects.

Take It Slow

Now that you know the facts, here are a few tips on how to start cutting back on caffeine:

  • Instead of your usual cup of coffee drink chamomile tea, peppermint tea, or warm low-fat milk which research shows help you relax.
  • If you like soda, get your fizz by switching to a non-caffeinated carbonated beverage like ginger ale or sparkling water.
  • Remember that it’s OK to have some caffeine, as dropping it all at once can lead to unpleased withdrawal symptoms such as a headache and fatigue. I recommend decaf coffee and milk chocolate to get your fix without going overboard.

Sometimes, it’s OK to just rest and not rush to do everything. Use this upcoming Lazy Day to take a few steps back from your caffeine dependency. It may just be one day, but it could make all the difference. For more healthy tips download a FREE app Eat Healthy from iTunes and the Google Play Store.

 

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Jodie
Jodie

Jodie Shield, M.Ed., R.D., L.D.N.
Jodie Shield has been a consultant and spokesperson in the field of nutrition for over two decades. A former national media spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association (1989-1995), she has worked extensively with the Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center and taught nutrition and medical dietetics at the University of Illinois. Currently she is a complemental faculty member of the College of Health Sciences in the Department of Clinical Nutrition at Rush University in Chicago.

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