I know you're going to hate this one but caffeine really is the devil once we hit perimenopause. Caffeine can be found not just in coffee but in tea, green tea, matcha powder, energy & fizzy drinks, chocolate and some cold & flu medicines & cough syrups. We all know it's a stimulant. It interferes with the body's natural energy balance, making us feel like we need to drink it to stay awake but in fact it is messing with our natural energy levels. The more we drink, the more we have to drink to feel awake and because it's addictive, we end up in a vicious cycle. Caffeine blocks adenosine, your body's natural sleep-inducing agent. As it stays in our system for up to 7 hours, it makes it harder for us to fall asleep and can make us wake more often in the night. Caffeine slightly raises the heart rate and narrows blood vessels and whilst we may enjoy that fluttery sensation in the morning, it raises cortisol levels (the stress hormone) to that of someone experiencing acute stress. Not great for anyone already feeling anxious about the pandemic. Caffeine has been scientifically proven to be a trigger for hot flushes, palpitations, headaches, itchy skin and insomnia, in perimenopause. Enough said?
CAFFEINE SUBSTITUTE HACK
So, it might be hard to go cold turkey on your morning coffee but replacing it with decaf means you are only intaking 3% of caffeine and often still get the same taste and placebo affect as drinking the real thing. Once you've weaned yourself to this version, try 100% caffeine-free alternatives, such as chicory root or ramon seeds coffee which contain anti-oxidants, good for heart health. Replacing caffeine is made easier with hot water-based tonics. Try dropping in a cinnamon stick with a slice of orange and teaspoon of apple cider vinegar or adding in fresh ginger, lemon and manuka honey. It takes most people up to 9 days to wean themselves off caffeine without any withdrawal effects, so whilst you're home-based, you've got nothing to lose! Make a note in a journal over the course of a week to see the impact it has on your sleep and anxiety levels, as tracking progress helps new habits stick!
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