By Margarita Bertsos, REDBOOK.
If you're sipping that morning mug of coffee or afternoon Diet Coke and, suddenly, it's doing absolutely nada for you, there's help! Here's how to give yourself a caffeine makeover and get your perk back.
Down it faster. The rate at which you consume caffeine actually changes how it will affect you. Don't mess around in the a.m.: your first cup of coffee of the day should be sipped quickly, to spike caffeine levels enough to wake you up, according to researcher Frank Ritter, Ph.D., of the Applied Cognitive Science Lab at Penn State University.
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Don't order a latte. Get this: A shot of espresso has 25 to 50 percent less caffeine than a cup of regular coffee, most likely because of coffee's longer brew time. See the difference at Starbucks--a Tall Latte (12 oz) has 75 mg caffeine; a Tall brewed Bold Pick of the Day coffee (12 oz) has 260 mg caffeine. Order accordingly!
Hit up the other coffee place--not the one you go to all the time. Caffeine content varies wildly by brand--compare how much caffeine is in a 16-oz cup of McDonald's (133 mg), Starbucks bold brew (330 mg), Dunkin' Donuts (206 mg) and Panera (189 mg). If you've been drinking the same brand of coffee for years, you may just need to pour a different java in your cup that packs a bit more ammo.
Give yourself a caffeine detox. If your body can't tell the difference between an iced coffee and a glass of O.J., brace yourself: some experts suggest skipping all sources of caffeine for a week or two to reboot your system. It's like pushing your body's 'reset' button--liver enzymes will return to normal and your brain will adjust, so when you start drinking caffeine again, you'll need less to get the jolt. Translation: If you can deal with 7-14 days of total sucky-ness, you're probably get your caffeine groove back. Worth it!
Use a caffeine app. One reason caffeine loses its kick: People are using it haphazardly, says Ritter, who developed Caffeine Zone 2, an iTunes app that lets you know the best way to sip. Give the app a few stats (weight, coffee-drinking habits, bedtime), and it'll tell you when and how to re-caffeinate. Consider it your body's GPS (Get Perkier System).
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