Instead Of Coffee, Try Sticking Your Head In The Freezer To Combat An Afternoon Energy Slump

For many of us, our morning coffee is ritualistic. We wake up, turn on the coffee machine, and in a few moments, the house is filled to the brim with that familiar, nutty aroma. When the coffee is ready, maybe you get to sit down with it for a moment, finding a bit of silence before you start crossing tasks off your to-do list. Or perhaps you throw it in a to-go mug, cue up your favorite podcast, and start the commute to work. It's the first thing you do during the day that's just for you, and for many Americans, it can feel almost essential.

According to a 2020 study commissioned by The Original Donut Shop Coffee, 50% of Americans are convinced they can't have a good day without a morning cup of coffee. But psychologist Aric Prather — who treats insomnia at the University of California, San Francisco and recently penned his new book "The Sleep Prescription" — says you can! All you've got to do is stick your head in the freezer (per New York Times).

Why a visit to the freezer is better than coffee

"The Sleep Prescription" – a how-to guide for better sleep — offers a slew of helpful tips to help us get the rest we need without medication. But most notable, perhaps, is Prather's suggestion that folks start trading in their afternoon coffee break for a little field trip to the freezer. He explains that when we look to coffee to pull us out of that dreadful afternoon slump, we will still have caffeine doing its thing in our bodies come bedtime (per New York Times). The Cleveland Clinic notes that six hours after having a cup of coffee, only half of the caffeine has been processed by our bodies, and it could take up to 10 hours for it to totally exit the bloodstream.

To avoid caffeine keeping you up past your bedtime, Prather offers a few other ways to re-energize, like an afternoon walk, or a 10-minute break from the humdrum of work where you engage your brain in a simple, yet pleasurable task, like listening to music or doing some reorganizing. 

If you're going to need more than a little music to replace coffee, he suggests sticking your head in the freezer to activate your arousal system. The Wim Hof Method, which utilizes breath work and cold therapy to harness health benefits, explains that when we're cold, the body has to work harder. This stimulates the production of endorphins which can make us feel happier, boost energy and concentration, and relieve stress.