How To Quit Caffeine In One Week (Painlessly!)

If sleep is a problem, you know as well as I do that at some point, the caffeine has to go. Trouble is that caffeine, even in small doses, blocks sleep neurotransmitters, the calming chemicals your body makes to make you sleepy.

Caffeine is a powerful stimulant with effects that can last up to seven hours. And for people who have liver problems, or who are taking oral contraceptives or other medications, caffeine’s effects can last even longer! It interferes with the body’s natural regulatory rhythms and chronic use of it can leave one perpetually out of balance — and regularly struggling for sleep.

My advice? Let it go! Free your body and wallet from the grip of caffeine addiction — but take it slowly. Start by weaning yourself off main offenders such as colas (even Diet Coke!), energy drinks, and chocolate. And then start eliminating those not-so-obvious sources, like decaf coffee, some herbal teas, some sodas (root beer, Mountain Dew, Sunkist Orange) and even some over the counter medications such as Anacin and Excedrin.

From there, it’s on to the big one: coffee. The best way to kick coffee is to taper off in small increments so as not to trigger the junkie-like withdrawal symptoms (especially the headaches). The mission is to slowly dial down your caffeine consumption so your body can acclimate over time.

Here’s a painless strategy to try when you’re finally ready to unhook from the caffeine drip:

Day 1: Today, have your usual amount of coffee.

Day 2 – Day 5: Blend your regular coffee with 50% decaf (preferably certified organic). Drink that for the next three days.

Day 6: Have 25% regular coffee, 75% decaf for one day.

Day 7: Start drinking pure decaf.

BONUS PLAN

Care to take it a step further? Then try this idea one patient came up with to help break his $80 weekly Starbucks habit. He added two more weeks to his program to kick coffee altogether.

  • During Week 1, he followed my 1-week decaffeinating plan outlined above
  • During Week 2, he continued on pure organic decaf.
  • During Week 3, he began blending his decaf with a roasted grain beverage called Kaffree Roma, starting with a blend of 50% decaf coffee and 50% Kaffree Roma. Then he went down to 25% decaf and 75% Roma. In the 3rd week, he went down to all Roma on Day 7.

Eventually, he dropped the Roma as well and no longer “needs” coffee, decaf or coffee substitutes

Kicking the caffeine habit can be incredibly difficult, but well worth your while. Your sleep will be longer and of higher quality, and your overall health will improve. For those of you looking to cleanse more toxins from your body, check out our posts on the top 5 reasons your body loves a detox and how to do a detox.

Frank Lipman, M.D.

Pioneer in Functional Medicine
For Dr. Frank Lipman, health is more than just the absence of disease: it is a total state of physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social wellbeing. Dr. Lipman is a widely recognized trailblazer and leader in functional and integrative medicine, and he is a New York Times best-selling author of five books, How to Be Well, The New Health Rules, Young and Slim for Life, Revive and Total Renewal.After his initial medical training in his native South Africa, Dr. Lipman spent 18 months working at clinics in the bush. He became familiar with the local traditional healers, called sangomas, which kindled his interest in non-Western healing modalitiesIn 1984, Dr. Lipman immigrated to the United States, where he became the chief medical resident at Lincoln Hospital in Bronx, NY. While there, he became fascinated by the hospital’s addiction clinic, which used acupuncture and Chinese medicine to treat people suffering from heroin and crack addiction. Seeing the way these patients responded so positively to acupuncture made him even more aware of the potential of implementing non-Western medicine to promote holistic wellbeing. As a medical student, he was taught to focus on the disease rather than the patient, and now as a doctor he found himself treating symptoms rather than the root causes of illness. Frustrated by the constraints of his training, and the limitations in helping his patients regain true health, he began a journey of discovery to search for the path to meaningful long-term health and wellness. He began studying nutrition, acupuncture, Chinese medicine, herbal medicine, functional medicine, biofeedback, meditation, and yoga. Dr. Lipman founded the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in 1992, where he combines the best of Western medicine and cutting edge nutritional science with age-old healing techniques from the East. As his patient chef Seamus Mullen told The New York Times, “If antibiotics are right, he’ll try it. If it’s an anti-inflammatory diet, he’ll do that. He’s looking at the body as a system rather than looking at isolated things.”In addition to his practice, Dr. Lipman is the creator of Be Well, an expanding lifestyle wellness brand he founded in 2010 to help people create, sustain and lead healthier lives. He is also the instructor of the mbg Video Course, 14-Day Detox.
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Frank Lipman, M.D.

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