Sunday21

How to replace caffeine

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I am finding it really difficult to keep enduring to the end...of the day without tea or coffee. I work really long hours at a sedentary job that demands concentration. Most people keep going with tea or coffee. I can't have colas. I had friends who converted and tried short walks but this is hard to do at my workplace. What do you do when you are so tired you are stumbling and slurring your speech but you have hours to go?

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Get sufficient sleep and exercise, eat well (includes learning how you react to different foods and quantities of food and times of day).

It is possible to keep blood flowing without walking around, simply be flexing muscles, stretching, standing for a brief time.

I find mental stimulation to be a good way to stay awake - I can stay up all night if my mind is well into something I find fascinating.

IMO, avoid trying caffeine - your body's natural reaction to caffeine is to work harder to cause the effects caffeine is trying to counter - in other words, it's self-defeating and temporary.  Better to do the above stuff, IMO.

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12 minutes ago, Eowyn said:

Suffer for a couple of weeks, drink a LOT of water, and you'll get through it. 

This is good advice for someone going through caffeine withdrawal. But if I understand his post correctly, Sunday21's problem isn't caffeine withdrawal, but sleepiness and difficulty concentrating. He's asking how to perk up from a chronic problem of being fatigued after long hours of work without using caffeine as a stimulant.

For me, walks do some good. I also find listening to interesting lectures on those walks (e.g. Nibley) to be refreshing. Might want to try something like that.

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Sorry, I understood that he was having a hard time kicking the coffee/tea habit because of fatigue in the afternoon.

 

I have a periodic diet Dr. Pepper problem. It was worst for the year or two after I had my twins. After breaking the addiction, I still have one now and then, but I find it generally makes me feel worse, not better. 

 

Now and then I use ZipFizz, which is a vitamin supplement drink (lots of B vitamins) with some caffeine. You may try a good B complex, and even a Vitamin D supplement. My nephew who is a physician's assistant recommends a D supplement to everyone, as most of us are deficient, and all kinds of things can happen as  a result (like fatigue). 

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Yes Vort, you have it right, very right! I gave up coffee and tea years ago but it is hard to cope with long hours of focusing on a computer screen without coffee or tea. I design mathematical models. I guess I could try waving my arms around. I have a very small closed office.

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My duties at a newspaper include working as one of the couriers, so I'm on the road at night for several hours at a time all by myself. So this is an issue for me, too. 

Possible solutions:

1. Cinnamon products, such as hard candy or chews, can provide you with as much stimulation as some weaker forms of coffee, but minus the caffeine. However, they may upset your stomach depending upon how you can handle them. 

2. If your workplace allows you to do so, have a radio or other audio feed going in the background at an appropriate volume. The sound will provide stimulus, and singing along (if appropriate) will help jog your brain. (In my case, the region I'm in can get radio signals from multiple media markets depending upon atmospheric conditions, so it's a treasure hunt some nights to see what stations are what genres in what markets.)

3. Occasional doses of sugar, such as a caffeine-free soda or a small mass-produced baked good, can help provide a temporary boost as well. 

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The early Utah pioneers had similar problems and eventually found Brigham Tea. It is from the ephedra family(Ephedra viridis), but is not the Chinese ephedra.  It contains ephedrine, pseudopherine, lucenin 2, phosphorus, resin, tannin, and vicenin 2 among its active constituents.  They drank this tea as a stimulant.  I grew up on the stuff and it is a specific for colds and asthma.  If you live in the southwest, it grows in desert conditions.

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FP is right.  In the end, there really is no substitute for getting enough sleep.

It may not be the lack of caffeine, but you've either overscheduled your day or you're wasting a lot of time.  I'm going to guess the former and say you need to take it easier.

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10 hours ago, Carborendum said:

 no substitute for getting enough sleep.

Watched a great little TED talk regarding the power of sleep. Here is my caveman version of it:

1. Every part of your body produces waste as it works, including your brain.
2. Every part of your body has a system for flushing/disposing of that waste during the day.
3. Unlike the rest of your body, your brain does not flush waste during activity (awake).
4. The build up of this waste in your brain is what slows you down, drains your thoughts, ideas, reflexes, energy, memory, etc.
5. Only time your brain will allow itself to flush this waste is during your sleep. 
6. Less sleep, less flushing. Less flushing, less functioning at full capacity. 
7. Ugh, Ugh... caveman says "get sleep, we all need sleep!"

Video - if anyone cares;)

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Yes, they are.  Just kidding.

60 hours/wk for six days/wk = 10 hrs/day.  I work 10 hrs or more per day without coffee.  But I manage to get enough sleep most of the time.  And I hope to be able to do so into my 70s.  Heck, I hope to work in this profession until I'm 85.

I saw a study that showed that a small percentage of the population (like 2% -3%) is able to function at full capacity on only 4 to 5 hours of sleep/night.  This is, unfortunately, not something that can be learned.  It appears to be a genetic trait.

The military pushes its personnel to go on very little sleep (5 to 6 hrs /night) on a regular basis.  But this is mainly combat training.  At this level of sleep, you can be conscious enough to do things that are well practiced, but your higher brain functions suffer.  True, an average person can get by with only 5 hrs / night.  But they function on a level that is on par with a person who has had a glass of wine every few hours.  In fact, I continue to hear public health announcements on the radio that warn that people who get less than 6 hours/night have the perception-reaction time of someone who is over the legal limit of alcohol.

Sleep is important.

There is one exception I've heard of -- and it may be a myth.  But supposedly, Bruce Lee had a method of meditation that placed him in such a deep trance that he could meditate for two hours/night and sleep for two hours/night making a total of four hours of down time.  And he was fully functional.

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2 hours ago, thoughts said:

You can't cheat your body of the rest it needs, and expect it to work well for you all day.

That's what I keep having to tell people. 

Thanks to the recession, I'm still living with relatives. Thing is, because I work the graveyard shift a couple nights a week, my schedule is several hours off from their schedule. Problem is, they still presume that I can keep their same hours and tend to get upset if I don't. As a result, not only do I face chronic sleep deprivation I also frequently have to skip meals. Because of this, I'll occasionally get so tired, exhausted, hungry, and/or dehydrated that I wind up getting sick.

This happened back on Tuesday when I spent precious time helping my mom with errands. It was supposed to be a quick in-and-out job into a busy business area so that mom could get what she needed to put together some handouts for a church event. Mom had her heart set on getting a specific item at a specific price, and refused to recognize that the price for that item has gone up significantly over the last little while. Given that she needed this item in bulk, the price increase caused a major issue. Rather than accepting a cheaper substitute, she insisted on going from store-to-store in the vain belief that the item could still be found cheaply. The end result was that what should have only been an hour or two turned into an entire afternoon of hunting for something that didn't exist. 

Because we were on the move, I didn't have time to stop and stay hydrated; only a few of the larger stores we went to had public water fountains, and I'd left my water bottle at the house because I didn't think we'd be gone that long. Between this, the complete lack of sleep (I was running on a mere four our five hours), and the fact that I'd missed eating, I got sick in the middle of the final store we went to; it was all I could to do stay on my feet. This finally forced mom to accept a substitute item, but the entire ride home was spent with her lecturing me because she figured this was evidence that I had to be diabetic since I don't live her health nut lifestyle. It wasn't until earlier today that I finally got her to understand that what I'm *really* dealing with is our schedule mismatch and the fact that I so often go without in order to try and compensate. 

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9 hours ago, Ironhold said:

Problem is, they still presume that I can keep their same hours and tend to get upset if I don't. As a result, not only do I face chronic sleep deprivation I also frequently have to skip meals.

This was one of the big issues I could never get my ex wife to understand; when I'd worked 6PM to 6AM, then had to stay up until 8:30AM to get the kids out the door, of course I was going to "sleep all day."

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In the urban and suburban world*, there's very definitely what I can a "Daylight Saving** Time" attitude: that is, "normal" people don't crawl out of bed before 8am (at the earliest***) and stay up (and out) until 11pm (at least).  If your schedule is different from this, there's something wrong with you and you should repent and conform to the "norm".  (My normal schedule is to wake at 5am and go to bed at 9pm - right when the Mormons at their "start-at-7pm MST****" activities are getting to the good stuff.)

*Don't know about rural, but I suspect farmers and ranchers don't share this attitude.

**The more accurate term is Daylight Shifty Time (nothing is saved, but something shifty is definitely happening).

***8am is what the scriptures mean when they tell us to get up early.  Midnight or 1am is what they mean when they say to retire to thy bed early.  (Just ask the normal people; they know these things.)

****MST = Mormon Standard Time (aka 30-minutes-late).

(This post was mostly poking fun at a reality, and an excuse to explain daylight shifty time, please don't get all upset over it.)

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3 hours ago, NightSG said:

This was one of the big issues I could never get my ex wife to understand; when I'd worked 6PM to 6AM, then had to stay up until 8:30AM to get the kids out the door, of course I was going to "sleep all day."

I work for a local newspaper. We're a small operation, and so I wear multiple hats. In addition to being the movie reviewer and writing a weekly edutainment column, I'm also one of the couriers and one of their stringers. I'm also the assistant stake public affairs rep, meaning that I serve as the go-between for the church and this publication. 

My body's natural sleep cycle is 2 AM to 10 AM. This means that my stomach is used to taking meals about four hours later than everyone else in the family, which is a big part of how I wind up missing meals: by the time I'm ready to have breakfast, everyone else is ready to get out the door and I find myself badgered to move it along. I also get badgered for taking so long to get ready, as I'm being rushed while I'm still half awake some mornings. 

On those nights where I do delivery, I'm typically on the road from 12:30 AM to 4:30 AM. This cuts into the time I normally sleep, and so I have to compensate by catching naps elsewhere. I generally get about half an hour before I go out, but I don't always get any sleep when I get back. On Tuesdays, this is often because relatives, people at church, or other individuals have plans for the day, and since I'm still living with family I keep getting roped into everything. 

Fridays are another matter entirely. I try to catch the first screening of the day so that I can be in and out, and so that means I need to be at the theater as early as 9 AM some days. Put it all together, and on Fridays I can be running on a mere 3 - 4 hours of sleep. What's more, I have a sour stomach as a consequence of a bleeding stress ulcer I had some years ago, and so I have to skip breakfast before going in to the movies lest I spend at least part of the film having stomach issues; I have to keep a bag of pretzels or some jerky in the car to compensate. Then once I'm done, I usually have to go do errands. If I'm lucky, I can knock it out in an hour or two, then get home and get some sleep. But if not, I can be out until the early evening trying to get it all done. 

As you can imagine, I generally need Tuesdays and Saturdays as recovery days because of the disruption to my sleep cycle, but that rarely happens. Lack of sleep due to the schedule mismatch is a big part of why I have such a lack of energy some days and am facing some of my health issues, but my relatives would rather believe that I'm a slacker or that I'm diabetic due to being so hideously obese as they prefer to think of me.*

This has, as you can imagine, led to some pretty bad arguments that only made things worse for me. For example, there was one day where I was having issues with my blood sugar due to lack of sleep and having missed a meal. I picked up a box of one quarter-size Rice Krispies Treats (the kind normally given out as Halloween treats) on the way out of one shopping facility so that I could snack on them. The person I was with that day tore into me for eating them because I had more than one at a time, and then accused me of being diabetic when I noted that I was sick. Every time I went for another one, it was the same argument until finally I just stopped trying... and got even sicker for not eating. 

 

*For my measurements, the Army says I should be 220 pounds at most. But when I was pushing the brink of insanity by doing weight training and water aerobics at the same time, I hit the floor at 260. This is because I have an abnormally hard, dense, and thick skeletal structure, and so that's an extra 40+ pounds I'm hauling with me. Once I hit my floor, any further effort on my part to lose fat was counter-acted by my gaining muscle mass. But because I was 40 pounds over the "official" guideline, I still had people criticize me for being "fat" even after they saw me push a stalled Buick around like a lawnmower and dead-lift heavy pieces of furniture others wrote off as team efforts to move.  

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1 hour ago, Ironhold said:

 I have an abnormally hard, dense, and thick skeletal structure, and so that's an extra 40+ pounds I'm hauling with me. Once I hit my floor, any further effort on my part to lose fat was counter-acted by my gaining muscle mass. But because I was 40 pounds over the "official" guideline, I still had people criticize me for being "fat" even after they saw me push a stalled Buick around like a lawnmower and dead-lift heavy pieces of furniture others wrote off as team efforts to move.  

Brothers and Sisters, I give you Wolverine.

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Get sufficient sleep at night.  Take a cat nap.  5 or 10 minutes with the eyes closed.

Get a blood test.

I'm older, that means more sleep.  Some people can go on 4 hours sleep, at my age I'm closer to 8 1/2 or 9.

Last year my blood test showed severe anemia.  I was recommended for the hospital and a blood transfusion.  Anemia is aggravated by coffee and tea or any caffeine.  So that was easy for me when I joined the church.

But anemia, and the cancer that I found out caused it will give you great fatigue.  I still have some fatigue, which also the chemo therapy tends to produce, but at least I now know it was not a shortage of coffee and tea that produced the fatigue..

dc

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19 hours ago, Ironhold said:

*For my measurements, the Army says I should be 220 pounds at most. But when I was pushing the brink of insanity by doing weight training and water aerobics at the same time, I hit the floor at 260. This is because I have an abnormally hard, dense, and thick skeletal structure, and so that's an extra 40+ pounds I'm hauling with me. Once I hit my floor, any further effort on my part to lose fat was counter-acted by my gaining muscle mass. But because I was 40 pounds over the "official" guideline, I still had people criticize me for being "fat" even after they saw me push a stalled Buick around like a lawnmower and dead-lift heavy pieces of furniture others wrote off as team efforts to move.  

I used to work with a guy who had to get a note from his doctor every year on the company physical, because his weight and measurements categorized him as morbidly obese.  Anybody with two brain cells to rub together could see he was maybe 12% body fat.  We had some equipment that had to be swept under daily, and the usual process was for me (5'11" 195lbs) to squat it from one end while one of the smaller guys swept under it, then go do the other end.  He would lift it with one hand and sweep with the other.

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Back in middle school or junior high (I can't remember which), everyone in my grade level who had a clean discipline record got to have a "field day" at the local military base courtesy of the military unit that was our official school sponsor. Not only were we allowed to examine their equipment up close and personal, we also had MREs for lunch and had military-themed athletic challenges as well. 

Because I was bigger than most of my classmates, a number of soldiers kept challenging me to perform various physical feats. 

I had trouble working the mechanism (can't remember if it was a bolt or firing pin) on one of the machine guns because I couldn't get a good enough grip (I suffered severe nerve damage in both hands back in elementary school; this would have disqualified me from service even if I didn't have my weight issues). 

But they weren't laughing after I hefted the door-breaching implement one-handed and did the Humvee pull event all by myself. 

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Eat some fruit! :) When i lack energy i find that eating a bunch of fruit here and there, and drink plenty of water, gives me a good boost of energy to last throughout the day.

I have yet to venture into the greener juices, but they should be very good.

I mostly do a mix of fruits and greens and make a smoothie in stead.

The basic version for someone who isn't too fond of the green flavour is this:

  • 100% fresh orange juice (or you can peel some whole oranges and use them)
  • A handful of spinach (baby spinach is very mild in taste)
  • Icecubes
  • Frozen banana pieces

Pictures here for proportions: http://milluw.blog.com/2014/03/24/simple-green-smoothie/

You can always play around, add berries, more greens, and what not. But i have yet to meet anyone that dislikes this one, you can barely taste the baby spinach.

** Or superfoods! The chia seed is nutrient dense and packs a punch of energy boosting power.

Edited by Milluw
Forgot to add superfoods to the list..

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