Photo of a young woman holding up a coffee while smiling.

Whether you enjoy espresso, tea or energy drinks, caffeine can serve as an important part of your daily routine. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing—a visit to the coffee shop can be part of your self-care plan or a way to catch up with friends. However, if you’re relying on caffeine to combat fatigue, it may be time to try something new. Here are a few tips to help you stay energized throughout the day while curbing your caffeine intake.

1. Focus on better sleep

Sounds obvious, right? Getting seven to nine hours of restful sleep each night can help you feel more energized and focused throughout the day. Caffeine can impact your sleep by creating a cycle of under- and over-sleeping. Check out these tips to help you improve your sleep habits, even if you can’t quite reach the seven hour minimum.

  • Plan backwards: Set a reasonable bedtime for yourself and plan your time backwards. For instance, if you want to be asleep by 10:30 p.m., you may need to start your nightly routine by 10 p.m. It can also be helpful to put down your electronics at least one hour before bed. That means you’ll need to wrap up your social media scrolls, news updates and video-watching by 9:30 p.m.
  • Create a routine: Nighttime routines can help provide internal cues that it’s time to get ready for sleep. Routines can include things like bathing, brushing your teeth, reading a book (instead of scrolling through your phone), stretching, breathing exercises or other activities that help you relax and settle in for the night. It’s also important to stay consistent when it comes to the time you go to sleep and wake up throughout the week.
  • Rethink your bedroom: Did you know that your bedroom can impact your sleep? Create a sleep oasis by only using your bed for resting and relaxing, adjusting your room temperature to a cooler setting, using a fan or white noise app to minimize distracting sounds and closing your curtains to make sure your room is dark. You can also use essential oils (like chamomile or lavender) to help your body relax and prepare for bedtime.

2. Stay active during the day

Physical activity can give us an adrenaline boost, which can help us stay alert and motivated throughout the day. However, it can wreak havoc on your sleep schedule if you are working out at night. Try to wrap up your workout at least three hours before you go to bed. If you want to squeeze in some late-night movement, consider more relaxing activities like stretching or yoga. 

3. Take a power nap

While it may seem counter intuitive, taking a short nap during the day can help improve your mood, focus and alertness. Opt for a quiet place to hit snooze or visit one of the Relaxation Stations on campus to enjoy a state-of-the-art nap pod. Try to keep your nap between 15 to 30 minutes, so it doesn’t interfere with your nightly sleep.

4. Nourish your body

Eating regular meals or snacks can help you maintain your energy during the day. When we allow our bodies to become overly hungry or fatigued, we tend to crave carb-rich foods. While sweets, crackers or pasta may satisfy our cravings and give us a small burst of energy, they can also leave us feeling tired soon after. Try to prepare snacks in advance that include a combination of carbs, protein and fats. Here are some ideas of satisfying snacks to keep you alert throughout the day:

  • Greek yogurt with fruit
  • Jerky, cheese and crackers
  • Trail mix with nuts and dried fruit
  • Veggies with hummus or dip
  • Peanut butter and crackers

Eating a variety of nutritious foods can help us feel fuller and more energized for longer.

5. Stay hydrated

When you’re dehydrated, you can start to feel fatigued. This is because dehydration can impact how your blood flows through your body. Your heart often needs to work harder to pump oxygen to your organs and brain. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help you ward off dehydration and the grogginess that accompanies it. 

Tips for staying hydrated:

  • Carry a reusable water bottle and refill it at water bottle stations around campus
  • Eat water-dense foods, like fruits and vegetables
  • Add flavor by slicing up lemons or oranges to add to your water
  • Alternate your drinks such as drinking a cup of water between cups of coffee or soda


Here are some free resources that can help you feel more energized without the need for caffeine.

Free apps

If you’re having sleep difficulties, it may be beneficial to try out free apps like CBT-i Coach to track your sleep. These kinds of apps can help you develop better sleep habits, improve your sleep environment and learn techniques to alleviate insomnia.

Available for: students, staff, faculty

Peer Wellness Coaching

Students can meet one-on-one with a trained peer wellness coach to address a variety of concerns, including time management, stress, self-care, sleep, finances, goal-setting and more.

Available for: students

Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS)

CAPS provides a number of resources for students who are struggling with mental health concerns, including sleep. They offer free drop-in consultations, workshops, group therapy and individual counseling services.

Available for: students

Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FSAP)

FSAP counselors can help faculty and staff with a variety of concerns or issues, including sleep, work or home life, depression, anxiety, imposter syndrome and more.

Available for: staff, faculty