7 Signs You’re Drinking Too Much Coffee
The side effects of too much caffeine can be subtle. Here’s how your coffee addiction may be hurting your health.
You feel anxious
Ruminating about an upcoming event or deadline can fuel your desire to grab a comforting mug of java. Yet, the National Institute of Mental Health recommends that people who suffer from anxiety avoid caffeine. Why? Too much coffee can actually worsen the effects of anxiety, either by robbing you of proper sleep or triggering your flight or fight response. In a 1990 study published in Psychosomatic Medicine, 25 men were given a moderate dose of caffeine or a placebo before a stressful task. The men, who were all regular coffee drinkers, had higher blood pressure, stress hormones, and about double the reported stress level with the caffeine compared with the placebo.
Your stomach hurts
You may associate stomach pains with spoiled food or PMS cramps. You should add your morning brew to that list as well. In 2017, European scientists found that certain compounds in coffee stimulate the secretion of stomach acid by your stomach cells. Taking an over-counter medication like Tums can neutralize the acid short-term, but if you suspect coffee is making your stomach hurt, think about changing your coffee consumption habits. These 7 things happen to your body when you drink coffee every day.
Your heart is racing
The feeling that your heart is beating too fast can be frightening. It may feel like your heart is trying to escape from your ribcage. These heart palpitations can be caused by the consumption of too much coffee and caffeine, nicotine, and even alcohol. In some cases, a racing heart can lead to dizziness and even fainting spells. According to a 2017 study in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry, 94 percent of doctors recommend patients experiencing the fluttering heart beats stop consuming caffeine.
You have diarrhea
Most people know that coffee can help keep you regular, thanks to its laxative properties. Drink more than two or three cups a day, though, and you might get diarrhea, according to the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders. If you find your bathroom issues become unmanageable, the IFFGD recommends gradual withdrawal from caffeine. Don't miss these 11 ways to make your coffee habit healthier.
You can’t sleep
Insomnia can be a telltale sign of too much coffee. Even if you swear coffee doesn’t have any effect on you, this tasty drink can still wreak havoc on your sleep cycle. Coffee's half-life is 5 hours, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. That means it can take several more hours for the stimulant to completely leave your system. This can increase the number of times you wake up during the night, and decrease overall time asleep. To solve this problem, try to drink that last cup of coffee no later than noon.
You've got the jitters
Coffee makes you feel more alert, but sometimes that feeling turns into too much of a good thing. This is where the jitters come in. Caffeine speeds up your central nervous system, causing you to feel jumpy. Skip that fourth cup and stop the shakes. Check out these myths about how coffee can affect your health.
You get headaches
A moderate amount of caffeine helps relieve a headache, by helping pain-relief medications work better, according to a study in The Journal of Headache and Pain. That’s why you’ll find caffeine as an ingredient in many over-the-counter headache drugs. However, if you drink too much coffee for a sustained amount of time (getting a daily excess of 500 mg of caffeine, or the equivalent of five cups of coffee) and you can go through caffeine withdrawal. The symptoms include headaches and fatigue, found Johns Hopkins researchers. Slowly decrease your caffeine intake—and look at all the possible sources in your diet, including coffee, headache drugs, tea, soda, and energy drinks. Next, don't miss the 10 problems that all coffee lovers understand.
- American Academy of Sleep Medicine. “Sleep and Caffeine.”
- Frontiers in Psychiatry. “The Safety of Ingested Caffeine: A Comprehensive Review.”
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. “Heart Palpitations.”
- Gut. “Effect of Coffee on Distal Colon Function.”
- International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. “Common Causes of Chronic Diarrhea.”
- Journal of Caffeine Research. “Caffeine Use Disorder: A Comprehensive Review and Research Agenda.”
- The Journal of Headache and Pain. “Caffeine in the Management of Patients with Headache.”
- National Institute of Mental Health. “Anxiety Disorders.”
- National Institute on Aging. “A Good Night’s Sleep.”
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. “Caffeine Induces Gastric Acid Secretion Via Bitter Taste Signaling in Gastric Parietal Cells.”
- Psychomatic Medicine. “Caffeine Effects on Cardiovascular and Neuroendocrine Responses to Acute Psychosocial Stress and Their Relationship to Level of Habitual Caffeine Consumption.”