When I first started my personal training company, I felt so lucky to be self-employed that I took on every client I could get, including those clients at 5:30 a.m. For six years, I consistently woke up around 4:45 a.m. or 5 a.m. during the week and around 6 a.m. on the weekends. Not to mention this was during my mid-to-late 20s when the majority of my friends where attending happy hours during the week and late-night bars on the weekends. I remember going to my doctor for a yearly physical and describing how tired I was. He looked at me and stated the obvious: I needed to get more sleep. When it came to my company, I was also aware that if I didn't consistently get solid sleep, I would burn out, and I decided to make an effort to find natural ways to accomplish this.
Switching to decaf drinks at 10 a.m. was the best thing I ever did
When I started looking into the amount of caffeine I was consuming on a daily basis, I realised the numbers were higher than I liked. Turns out my gigantic Starbucks mug I was filling up twice a day had more than three cups of coffee! With the recommended amount of caffeine being a maximum of 400mg a day, or the equivalent to four cups of coffee, I was quickly approaching the limit. The worst part was I was consuming this slowly throughout the morning into midday. According to Dr. Sujay Kansagra, Mattress Firm's sleep health expert, "Although most of the coffee from your day is out of your system by bedtime, some caffeine may still be present at night, even if you drink caffeine in the morning." I decided to give myself a deadline each day to finish my coffee, and 10 a.m. was a reasonable place to start.
I was never a soft drink drinker, but in order to bring my coffee consumption down, I switched over to a smaller mug and started to invest in herbal natural decaffeinated teas to get me through the afternoon and evening. The first few days were rough, I'm not going to lie. I found myself craving coffee as soon as my mug was empty, but having another hot beverage to switch over to was a lifesaver. After about a week of limiting my caffeine, the headaches were gone and I was able to fall asleep earlier and sleep more soundly through the night! There were nights when I would be in bed and ready for sleep by 8:30 p.m., meaning I could actually get eight hours, something unheard of before I kicked the afternoon caffeine. I sometimes splurge with an afternoon latte or chai tea when I'm on vacation, but during the work week, I make every effort to knock off the caffeine early, and my body thanks me!