Energy drinks (Red Bull, Monster, 5 Hour energy), soda, coffee, and tea seem to be the first thing people reach for when they need a boost of energy. That boost of energy usually comes in the form of caffeine. Caffeine works by blocking the effects of adenosine, a brain chemical involved in sleep. By blocking the adenosine, the neurons in your brain fire. This produces “emergency” signals in your brain that releases adrenaline. This hormone causes your heart to beat faster and induces your liver to release extra sugar into the bloodstream. The end product of all of these biological processes is a short boost in energy. The increase in energy usually lasts thirty minutes or less and is followed by more than an hour of listlessness and drowsiness.

The daily recommended allowance for caffeine is 400 milligrams. That is equivalent to about four cups of coffee, ten cans of soda, or two carbonated energy drinks. Heavy caffeine use over 400 milligrams can result in insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, irritability, increased heart-beat, and muscle tremors. Caffeine is a central nervous stimulant that is very addictive.

A healthier alternative to that morning cup of coffee (or four cups of coffee) is to start off you day with a little cardiovascular exercise. Adding twenty minutes of exercise three times a week can boost your energy levels. Start small by engaging in a morning workout instead of that morning cup of coffee once per week.

Increasing the amount of whole grains in your diet can also give your body sustainable, healthy energy to get you through your day. Leafy greens, bananas, and citrus fruits are great sources of natural energy.

Eliminating the caffeine from your diet in small does will eliminate harsh caffeine withdraw side effects (headache, muscle pain, fatigue) and give your body time to adjust to different sources of energy already present in your body (carbohydrates and fats).

Sources: Caffeine institute of america