I know first hand the effects of caffeine withdrawal.Try going for a day without a cup of java and the headaches start slowly and eventually incapacitate me. Moody. Irritable… Not a great person to be around. The truth is that caffeine works as a stimulant and is indeed mildly addictive, so if like me, you find yourself craving a cup of coffee as soon as you wake up, there’s science behind it.

Regular caffeine drinkers gradually build up a tolerance to the effects, requiring more and more caffeine to achieve the same effect they used to get from a single cup. It’s a dangerous slope toward needing a triple-venti-extra-shot skinny vanilla late to ward off the 3 PM headache!

Many caffeine addictions aren’t that extreme, but if you drink coffee, tea, or soda in large quantities, trying to wean yourself off of them can decrease the unpleasant side effects like irritability, headaches, trouble sleeping, and grogginess. Making it through the first few days can be tough, but if you do, the energy you feel from non-caffeinated sources like whole foods, good sleep, and exercise, will be longer-lasting, and more stable.

If you want to eliminate or cut back on caffeine , consider these tips to make the process a little more bearable.

1. Make a list of the caffeine-containing foods you eat. Some chewing gums, for example, have caffeine! Start reading the labels on products and notice which items add caffeine to your diet.

2. Find replacement drinks. Replace at least one serving of your favorite caffeinated drink with filtered water and fresh citrus or cucumbers. Every few days, cut back one more serving until you no longer crave any caffeine.

3. Fatigue is one side effect of coming off caffeine. Increasing your activity each day can combat those effects. Add a 30-minute walk in the afternoon when you start to feel sleepy, or if you can’t get away from work, take a walk around the office.

4. Cut refined sugar from your diet. Cutting out these two temptations at once might seem like double the challenge, but one will actually support the other. Avoiding the sugar high and subsequent energy drop of refined sugar will reduce your caffeine cravings.

5. If you must drink something with caffeine, opt for green tea. Green tea has much less caffeine than coffee or black tea, plus powerful antioxidants.

8. Get your shut-eye. People often turn to caffeine because they aren’t getting enough sleep. Fix it by changing your sleeping habits so that you don’t need a stimulant. If you’re having trouble getting adequate sleep, try a natural at-home remedies you can try to help you sleep better and battle insomnia.

Being physically dependent on caffeine means you have to keep adding more to maintain your alertness and concentration. Kicking the caffeine habit will lead to better quality sleep and fuller, more productive days.

What is your favorite caffeine-free way to get energized? Share in the comments below!