How to Stay Awake Without Coffee

drinking coffee

“That’s impossible!” you say?  I’ve never been a huge coffee drinker, which I attribute to my upbringing. Neither of my parents ever drank coffee, so it wasn’t around the house. I grew up in a rural small town where the closest Starbucks was over an hour away.

In college, there was coffee everywhere, but I still never really caved in. On the rare occasion I had a coffee date with a girlfriend from class I would get something because I thought it tasted good (like a Coolata or Frappuccino- mmm), not because it would keep me awake with the caffeine. This isn’t to say that I don’t enjoy the taste of coffee. I like certain flavored varieties, the fun coffee drinks that taste more like ice cream than coffee, etc. When I do drink it, I have to put a lot of sugar and creamer so it doesn’t taste too bitter (I’m not a fan of black coffee- yuck!)

People ask me all the time, “How do you not drink coffee? How do you stay awake in the morning? How do you get all your work done without caffeine?” I’m a superhero, that’s why. Just kidding. But these are the things I do and what works for me.

Get enough sleep by going to bed earlier

If you went to bed a little earlier instead of stalking people on Facebook or watching Duck Dynasty re-runs, you wouldn’t be so tired in the morning. Try to turn off lights and distractions (including laptops and phones) about an hour before bedtime. I go to bed between 10 and 11 most weeknights and wake up around 7. That’s a good 8 hours of sleep on average, which is enough for me to function like a human.

Eat breakfast

I’ve always been a breakfast eater and can’t imagine not being one. If I go 4 hours without food, I get a headache and super nauseated. Eating a good breakfast (even if it’s something small like a granola bar or piece of fruit) will help fill you up and give you extra energy.

Keep your mind busy

Have you ever noticed that when you’re really busy (or even overwhelmed), you tend to not be as tired? That’s because your adrenaline kicks in since you know you have shit to get done. If you’re at a ridiculously boring job, then I’m sorry. I can understand why you think you need to rely on caffeine. But if you challenge yourself in the workplace and are constantly busy and doing work you enjoy, you will find that you feel less tired and more engaged. Since I’ve been at my newer job I’ve realized since I’m busier that I yawn less, complain less about being tired, etc.

Do you rely on coffee or caffeine to stay awake? If not, what are your tips on keeping your energy up without coffee?


  1. Actually I drink coffee only because I love it, like you I think having a good meal is important and if I get 7-8 hours of sleep I have no problem staying awake.

  2. I don’t drink coffee either, but I do have a hard time staying awake if I don’t go to bed early enough. Also, that 3pm slump sucks, but I try to drink lots of water to help keep me going.

  3. I love this! I am only a coffee drinker when I don’t get enough sleep the night before (tip 1). I think people rely unnecessarily on one expensive habit.

  4. Honestly I’m a coffee drinker, but I’m not too terrible I usually stick to about one cup a day. You are so right though, getting enough sleep definitely helps!

  5. Since I’ve gotten pregnant, I’ve stopped drinking coffee and it really hasn’t affected my energy level that much. Maybe because I’ve been eating bigger breakfasts… so I totally agree that that helps!

  6. I’m not a coffee drinker either — II’ll only really drink it in social situations. I definitely think your tips are the key to not needing coffee, especially the sleep one. Although sometimes I barely get any sleep and I expect to be tired and I’m not, so maybe some people just don’t need caffeine as much as others?

  7. I only drink coffee from time to time. Aside from getting enough hours of sleep I have found that exercising in the morning boosts my energy for the whole day.

  8. I do rely on caffeine 🙁 It is horrible. Like so much caffeine that I will get an awful headache around 2 p.m. if I haven’t had any in the morning. I can learn to get off it, but then I crave it again. I would love to just stick to tea, it has just enough caffeine to keep me going, but I really need to start eating breakfast again (I know, I’m horrible!)

  9. I rarely drink coffee either. It makes me incredibly jittery and it hurts my stomach. I usually go to bed by 10:30 latest!

  10. I drink a lot of coffee but lately I’ve been trying to be better about it – mostly because my Starbucks habit costs an arm and a leg! The eating breakfast thing is so true and I’ve found it really does work!

  11. This is the perfect post for me to find on my first visit to your blog! In October, I gave up a nasty coffee habit of having 2 cups (technically 4 servings…) a day and went cold turkey. I felt awesome after adjusting, but I’ve since returned to having a cup every morning. The winter holidays might be the best time for another detox–hopefully one that will stick a little longer this time!

  12. i love coffee, not for the fact that it keeps me up, but because i really love the taste. and i love the moments i have alone at 5:30 am when no one else is awake and i can have my cup of coffee. i try to get enough sleep, but when kids wake you up a few times in the middle of the night, and i have to get up to work, there isn’t much that i can do about it!! i do have a good breakfast and that is always nice. but i still love my coffee!! =)

  13. I love my morning coffee! But, I love it for the routine. Calming drinking my coffee while catching up on the internet and munching on breakfast has been my morning routine for years and years and is such a lovely way to spend my morning! I agree, when you’re chugging caffeine to stay awake, something is probably out of whack. Your tips are great, Rachel! I’d also add drinking plenty of water. Staying hydrated keeps me refreshed and my mind focused.

  14. Preach sister! I’ve been doing a better job cutting the cuppa joe out of my life, but it’s HARD. These are fabulous tips though! xx

  15. I’m not a big coffee drinker – mostly just water/ tea – but these are great tips. I find that a green juice makes me feel more energized that coffee ever does and its healthy too!

  16. Eating breakfast really DOES make a difference I have found! Going off all caffeine just takes some adjusting but these tips have definitely helped me adjust!

  17. Sleep is better than coffee…but when that doesn’t happen, I do love a cup of joe. I’ve always wanted to try giving it up for a time though.

  18. I do drink coffee but I don’t need it. I don’t drink it every day and I don’t really miss it on the days I don’t drink it. I rarely feel rested regardless on how much sleep I get which is a little frustrating.

  19. I’ve never been into coffee… I’m like you… I like coffee drinks because they taste good not because they’ll keep me awake. I too am a frapp kinda girl. I used to drink MASSIVE amounts of Coke Zero though. We could go through a 24 pack in 5 days… no joke. I didn’t notice how much I relied on the caffeine until I went off it and started drinking water. My sleep is SO much better now and because of that I overall am more awake during the day. It’s hard to start though, that’s for sure!

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