The one thing I learned in college was to never come between your sleep-deprived best friend and her grande sized coffee. NEVER EVER. Her relationship with coffee always baffled me because — believe it or not — I don’t drink coffee everyday. Not even tea. The truth is, I never use caffeine/coffee to stay awake in college. Let that statement sink in now…
You see, I probably would have become addicted to caffeine just like the millions of other college kids of the world, but, surprisingly enough, caffeine doesn’t do anything for me. In fact, it actually puts me to sleep (Yeah, I guess I am not your average person). My favorite thing to get at Starbucks was the peppermint mocha with a double shot, and instead of making me alert, it made me all warm and fuzzy inside — the perfect combination for a nap in an utterly silent library the night before a midterm. I once tried one of those popular energy drinks and I hated the taste! Plus, a lot of people don’t understand that those energy drinks can actually be very dangerous for your body. My friends would just crash for days after downing those before exams.
You might be thinking at this point, “Well she probably didn’t do anything in college and hence, she probably got her eight hours of sleep and never went to class.” Unfortunately, I wish that was the case. I am a biology major. I had to take biology and organic chemistry together. I slept for four hours every day my sophomore year. Never once did I turn to coffee to keep me awake, but don’t get me wrong. I was tired (I need at least 8 hrs of sleep a night!), but I found other ways to keep myself going and avoid those long nights alone with a coffee cup!
I completely realize that, when you’re in college, it just feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done; but honestly ask yourself, how many times did you wait until the last minute to do something when you had the time earlier on aka procrastination? You have probably heard this a million times, but prioritizing tasks (like completing the ones that are due tomorrow first, not what’s due next week because you like it more) would probably help you avoid the majority of your all-nighters.
Okay, here comes the big one. Sometimes we just need to accept we can’t do everything. You know what I am talking about. I have so many friends that are in a million activities, have a job and take more than the required classes. They are also the ones who are usually addicted to coffee. It might not seem like it right now, but in the long run you’ll realize that your mental health is more important than trying to do everything with the help of a caffeine addiction (because I am pretty sure that most of you are physically addicted to coffee right now which isn’t good)!
Instead of using your specially brewed coffee to wake up, I thought I might offer some ways that I helped myself combat that I just want to curl up in my warm bed and do nothing feeling.
1. I try to go to bed and wake up at the same time everyday no matter how much sleep I got. We are creatures of habit. Part of the reason you need your morning cup of coffee is because it has become part of a daily routine! I also had one of those iPod docks and would set my alarm as my favorite upbeat music!
2. Schedule in nap time. Seriously though. Even taking a nap for thirty minutes at around 3 pm will leave you feeling very refreshed for the night ahead of you.
3. Eat a good breakfast! It will really wake you up I promise.
4. Shower in the morning. The effort it takes to turn the faucet on and the onslaught of hot water will do you good! Sometimes I also showered before I went to bed because it would make me fall asleep faster and I would feel more rested in the morning.
Finally, I think the most important tip is to have something to look forward to each day whether it be big or small because I feel like people lug around their coffee cups just to get them through their days. The days that I knew I was going to get the least amount of sleep, I would try to schedule in something fun, like a quick dinner with my friends. It gave me the motivation/energy to get up and do things so I could have a little extra time to be with them. Having a good support system on sleepless days can help you not turn to caffeine and really, cliche or not, laughter is the best medicine!
You should all try to make being caffeine/coffee free a New Years resolution and tell me how it goes! Plus, an added benefit is that your wallet will be a whole lot heavier with all the money you save from not going to Starbucks!
[Lead image via Uros Zunic/Shutterstock]