4 Ways To Get Up Without Coffee

Wake up, shake up.
Publish date:
August 25, 2014
caffine, caffine alternatives, caffine-free, coffee alternatives, energy booster, yerba mate

So, I’m pregnant. I wish there was a better way to say that. "Pregnant" sounds so medical; "knocked up" sounds negative; and "with child" sounds like something Dr.Quinn Medicine Woman would whisper to Sully, “She doesn’t have scarlet fever, she is with child.”

I didn’t get much fatigue with my last pregnancy, but this time around my body feels heavy and my head feels like it's full of lead. My 7 a.m. alarm is like torture.

The best part? I can’t have coffee--at all--because it sends my guts into a twisting, roiling mess that can only be quelled with a handful of TUMS. But I’m still working full-time and I can’t just loll about napping. So I've found a few other ways to get up without losing my breakfast.

1. Read Something

I don’t sleep with my phone because I’m too worried about The Cancer, but I grab it during my 6 a.m. bathroom break and keep it within slapping distance. I’ve found that reading first thing in the morning is a good way to find my way out of the fog. Plus, firing up my brain helps me accept that work is inevitable and I MUST get out of bed--no matter how cozy and wonderful it is. My favorite app for morning reading is Flipboard.

2. Drink Infused Cold Water

A lot of systems of alternative medicine are against drinking cold water; the main concern is that it "saps your energy." I’m not sure about you, but I have a few calories to spare, and a low tolerance for quackery. First thing in the morning I slam a jar of water infused with cucumber, mango, fresh mint, or lemon. It gets rid of sleepiness, soothes my stomach, and gives me an instant energy boost. Plus: hydration!

3. Stimulate Your Mammalian Dive Reflex

Splashing your face with cold water stimulates your mammalian dive reflex, which prompts you to hold your breath, close your eyes, become more alert, and constrict your blood vessels. You can also do this (kind of) with toner. Pop it in the fridge overnight and apply it first thing in the morning. It'll tighten your pores AND help wake you up.

4. Drink Some Yerba Mate

Of course, I saved the best for last. I know what you’re thinking, That ish has caffeine, sucka! Yep, it does, but I'm not avoiding caffeine, just coffee and tea. Both have secondary chemicals that can irritate your stomach. Yerba mate doesn't have those chemicals, but it does have theobromine (also found in chocolate), which has relaxing effects, especially on smooth muscles.

I like to mix yerba mate with a bit of lavender, to balance out the stimulating effects, or mint, if my stomach is being really fussy. You can buy tea bags, but it’s cheaper/tastier to buy it in bulk and use it in your espresso machine or French press. It doesn't give me the jitters, the, um, bowel troubles, or the sweatiness that I get from drinking coffee, but I still feel alert and ready to build a house or fight a toddler into his stretch pants.

I’m trying in vain to get more sleep, but even when I do I get that mid-afternoon fog. Maybe I should move somewhere where siesta times are respected.

How do you wake up? Have you tried yerba mate? It kind of tastes like poison, but it grows on you.