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Staying Alert Without Caffeine

Kinyanjui Wangonya on March 25, 2019

After my first post on "Caring for your Health as a Developer", I decided to do a bit of research on caffeine, specifically in coffee. I did learn ... [Read Full]
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I don't know if I can give up coffee. Actually, I just don't want to. I enjoy it too much. However, I've experienced the burnout from not enough rest, and drinking to much coffee and caffeinated beverages. My new rule is to not drink coffee or caffeine after 1:00 in the afternoon. Other than that, if I can get a quick nap, I do that too.

I think most people underestimate the influence that getting quality rest has on the rest of there life. When I was a bit younger, I know I sure did.

Thanks for the post.


I gave up caffeine completely, because I couldn't handle it. My brain just does not respond well to substances.

After shopping around a bit, I found that there are some decent caffeine free blends out there that deliver the taste, that I too really enjoy. Maybe it's something worth considering. ☕


Nice. Any particular brands you would suggest? I doubt if I'll find them in my part of the world but I'm willing to look around 😅

This is my weapon of choice atm. It's a blend of Central and South American beans from various places.

I generally prefer arabica coffee that is longer, but not dark roasted.


sips coffee I will consider this.

I've drastically reduced my caffeine intake this year by just going to bed earlier. Getting a legit night's sleep is probably the best favor you can do for yourself! Good tips my friend.


I agree. Sleep is underrated. I've noticed that on days that I'm under pressure to deliver something before a deadline, the work I do very late at night is so full of silly mistakes that I don't even realize while I do the work. I end up wishing later that I had slept and woken up early to do the work when fresh. A good rest really does refresh the mind 👍🏾


+1 I had to get past mid-30 to learn the lesson. If given the choice to work late or go to bed and get up early, the latter always yields better results. For me at least.


Thanks for this article! Something I def. struggle with (drinking massive amounts of coffee to keep me going).

I find talking a nice walk out into the woods (in my back yard) is the best thing.

@helenanders26 - you need to read this one 😋


Wow, I wish I had your kind of back yard. I'd probably have my desk out there 😅


This is an interesting topic and something I've been experimenting with for a while.

Ultimately I think a holistic approach is best, but here are some of my realisations.

A good night's sleep is magic, when you wake up, get up, don't sleep in.

Good breakfast, good lunch, good dinner, remember that it's a marathon and you're eating for tomorrow.

Stay away from junk food. Cutting back on sugar was a big thing for me. I use to put a lot more sugar in my coffee, now it's about a quarter of a teaspoon and I'm drinking less coffee.
Two days ago I didn't have coffee at all and my energy levels stayed constant. Now I'm considering going without coffee. Both my espresso machines have been going for more than 12 years and it's about time they retire :D

Cutting back on sugar caused my energy levels to stay stable throughout the day. I didn't have that energy dip at lunch time due to sugar depletion, so the idea of a power nap has actually become a disadvantage.
If get sleep inertia, it takes me a long time to feel awake.

Better option for most days is to get some exercise.
This could be in the form of some simple stretching or a walk, short jog, whatever. The idea here is to get the blood flowing because sitting at a desk is really no good for circulation.


Yes, absolutely. After being caffeine free for some months now, I notice

  • better sleep,
  • no headaches in the morning,
  • faster awake in the morning,
  • less tired in the afternoon

I can only recommend it.

Like you said, coffee doesn't really wake you up, it just keeps you from falling asleep.


Water! Water is amazing, and not to be That Person, but eating a keto diet has improved my energy levels SO much.


haha, yes, I know some people who really don't drink water.

I mean, if we are 80% water, then I'm gonna try my best to be 100% human :D

Have you tried some intermittent fasting?


yeah! my eating window is basically noon-7... except days like today where I wake up hungry and no amount of water helps, haha.

Everyday? or how often do you fast?

I fast only once a week, so I guess the novelty factor keeps me going as I usually eat quite a bit due to sport.

I fast every week day, and try to fast on weekends, but usually don't make it until noon. I basically eat one large-ish meal a day, around 5pm, and that keeps me going. I'm starting to train for a half-marathon and I'm curious what the effect on my appetite and energy will be from there.

Yes, that would be interesting to know.
Good luck with that marathon, "one step at a time" :D

Maybe I should try fast more often to feel the difference, although I'm into cross country mountain biking, which basically means one and a half hour of flat out racing. So, I'm not really that dependant on fat burn for energy.

If that's your first marathon, then I guess we'll see a post about "Coder does Marathon!" soon.


Here's what works for when I need a caffine-free pick-me-up:

  1. Stretch large muscle groups / go for a 2 minute walk.
  2. Do strenuous exercise. At least 1 hour every 2-3 days. Somehow, exercising leads to more mental energy.
  3. Practice mindfulness/meditation. 2 minutes of mindfullness works wonders for the rest of the day

I’m a huge fan of the strategic 20 minute nap. I also meditate and do mindfulness practices. Yoga and exercise really help too.


I take amphetamines instead of coffee in the morning. Works great!

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