Breaking the Coffee-to-Wine Cycle

Not too long ago, I went to dinner with a friend who’s a new mom.   Still on Maternity Leave, she joked that her days consisted of pounding cups of coffee during the day and then winding down with wine in the evenings.  As a mom myself, I remember a little too well how exhausted I was those first few months, but thankfully I hadn’t felt the need to chase my cups of coffee with glasses of wine.  It made me think, though – how many others were doing the same thing?  According to Dr. Robin Berzin in a recent Well+Good article, it’s not just new moms falling into this pattern.  A variety of people rely on coffee to fuel their day, and then turn to alcohol at night to unwind.

Unfortunately, however, this pattern can come at a price.  Coffee, a stimulant, triggers hormones like cortisol, which increase blood pressure and blood sugar, says Berzin, yet ultimately doesn’t sustain a person’s energy.  Instead, the caffeine can cause that person to feel dehydrated, drained or on edge by the end of the day.  “To compensate, many people turn to alcohol in the evenings, which stimulate neurotransmitters in the brain and is a natural depressant,” she went on to explain.  This can help calm your nerves, but it can also disrupt your sleep – leading to next-day exhaustion and more caffeine consumption.

If you find yourself in a co-dependent relationship with coffee and wine, Berzin suggests the following tips:

Get Enough Sleep

Though this could be easier said than done if you’re a new mom, getting quality sleep each night is crucial for breaking free from the coffee-to-wine cycle.  Berzin suggests incorporating magnesium tablets in order to achieve deeper sleep, avoiding processed and spicy foods at night, and sleeping in the next morning if you’ve had a late night.

Eat a Sustainable Diet

In order to maintain energy throughout the day, Berzin advises to avoid simple carbs and sugar in the mornings, as well as at lunch.  By eating a balanced diet – a mix of protein, simple carbs, veggies and little processed sugar, you will find yourself with sustained energy and a reduced need for a pick-me-up through caffeine.

Find New Ways to Unwind at Night

Instead of helping yourself to another glass of Cabernet, learn new ways to find some relief.  Alternatives include taking a walk, soaking in a bath, meditating, reading a book or taking a yoga class – all which can help curb cravings.