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What Are The Coffee Jitters? Why They Happen & How To Calm

What Are The Coffee Jitters? Why They Happen & How To Calm

Clark
18 minute read

There are quite a few positives linked to coffee consumption, but the main reason most people reach for that morning cup is the energy boost they get shortly after that first sip. 

Too much coffee, though, and you may come down with the jitters. 

Coffee jitters are the physical sensations you get after too much caffeine. They can look like shakiness, nervous energy, and heart palpitations before the inevitable crash once those initial effects begin to wear off.

There are various ways to keep the jitters at bay, including reaching for a low-acid coffee that’s more gentle on digestion. It’s important to nail down first what’s behind the effects of your coffee jitters.

What causes coffee jitters?

Coffee jitters are a common side effect caused by too much caffeine. That doesn’t always mean coffee, either. If you’re mixing coffee with energy drinks or green teas throughout the day, your caffeine consumption can quickly get out of hand.

How much is too much? Most healthy adults can tolerate a moderate amount of caffeine. That’s about 400 mg, or about 4 regular cups of coffee, per day.

Anything within that range and you’re likely to enjoy the positives of coffee consumption and coffee. Those health benefits include a lower chance of developing several illnesses, improved physical performance, and a mood boost.

For most, the coffee jitters are temporary and not very dangerous, but they can cause unpleasant effects in the body. They can also be unsettling if you’re finding it hard to concentrate after the caffeine crash.

How Caffeine Affects the Body

Caffeine is a stimulant. When ingested, it blocks the adenosine receptors responsible for the drowsiness we feel after a night of poor sleep or a long day. That can cause your heart rate and blood pressure to increase temporarily. 

In small to moderate doses, caffeine revs up the brain and nervous system to counteract drowsiness and give you that morning pick-me-up.

In larger doses, caffeine can cause insomnia, headaches, an irregular heart rate, or aggravate gut issuesCutting back on caffeine after having too much for too long can also cause caffeine withdrawal symptoms. 

Those symptoms can mimic the jitters, leading to headaches, tiredness, anxiety, even flu-like effects over time. Experts suggest tapering off caffeine slowly. Incorporate decaf coffee, hydrate with lots of water and get plenty of rest as you battle caffeine withdrawal. 

While withdrawal symptoms can last for days, even more than a week, the coffee jitters typically resolve themselves more quickly if these are new symptoms you’re experiencing. 

How long do the coffee jitters last?

Caffeine’s half-life is about 5-6 hours, so it’ll take at least that long for half of the caffeine you’ve ingested to metabolize in your body. The most obvious caffeine effects usually happen within about 45 minutes after you’ve had your cup of coffee.

That includes the energy boost and bump in alertness people enjoy following their regular espresso or latte. 

Avoiding any amount of caffeine about 8 hours before bedtime is usually a safe bet for those who drink caffeine regularly. The coffee jitters can linger throughout the day in anyone with caffeine sensitivity. 

Here’s how to get rid of coffee jitters.

Time is the only way to get through a case of coffee jitters. Those with a higher level of caffeine sensitivity may feel the effects of caffeine much longer. 

There are a few ways to alleviate some of the symptoms if you’re already experiencing coffee jitters, but waiting it out will work best for most.

Stop ingesting caffeine. 

That may sound obvious until you realize there are other sources of caffeine outside of your cup of coffee. Chocolate, energy drinks, some teas, sodas, kola nuts, even some medications, and supplements all have varying levels of caffeine content. 

Avoid any source of caffeine until those side effects have worn off and you’re feeling more like yourself. Herbal teas are generally caffeine-free.

Drink water.

Hydrate with plain water while you wait for the caffeine's effects to move through your system. It won’t help the caffeine metabolize any quicker, but it will keep any dehydrating effects at bay.

Coffee has a mild diuretic effect, and moderate coffee intake isn’t linked to any risk of dehydration in most healthy adults. If you’re not used to that regular cup of joe, though, or have simply had too much caffeine, reaching for a glass of water is best to get your body back into balance.

Go for a walk.

Some light exercise won’t do much to lower the caffeine levels in your body, but it could relieve any caffeine-related anxiety. Yoga or deep breathing exercises can also help ease some of those nervous symptoms and help you relax.

Eat a healthy meal.

There’s nothing you can eat to metabolize caffeine more efficiently, but a healthy meal full of fiber is a natural way to boost your energy if you’re feeling the post-caffeine crash. 

It can also make you feel better as the caffeine wears off. Reach for leafy greens and healthy grains to get you back on track.

Don’t believe the hype.

You’ve likely read about some additional tips and tricks for battling the coffee jitters, but they may not be backed by scientific evidence.

  • Vitamin C: There’s no evidence that boosting your vitamin C intake will do anything to reverse the jitters. The theory was that caffeine makes your body think it has a vitamin C deficiency. Treat yourself to a grapefruit if you want, but it won’t stop your symptoms.
  • Bananas: Bananas may help with cramping if you’re dehydrated, but they won’t metabolize caffeine faster. More research is needed to determine whether caffeine has a negative effect on potassium. Evidence out there now is limited to singular case studies.
  • Smoking: Old studies claimed that nicotine helped the body clear caffeine more efficiently. Today, we know that nicotine is also a stimulant. Adding one stimulant to another will only exacerbate your symptoms. 

Ways to Drink Coffee Without the Jitters

If you’ve experienced the coffee jitters in the past, you likely don’t want a repeat performance any time soon. Here are a few ways to prevent the worst of the jitters so that you can enjoy the benefits of coffee without the shakes.

Cut out the sweeteners.

Adding sugar to your morning cup may be adding to your jitters. It could even be the real culprit behind what’s making you shaky. Try cutting out any added sugars before removing coffee from your diet completely to see whether the sweeteners are to blame. 

Remember, milk has naturally-occurring sugars from lactose, and some plant-based milk has added sugars. Finding the cause of your symptoms can require an elimination diet outside of your caffeine habit. 

Limit caffeine intake.

If you’ve had the caffeine jitters once, you likely know how much you had to ingest to feel those adverse side effects. Stop drinking coffee or any caffeinated beverages well before that point to keep your caffeine intake at safe levels for you.

Avoid coffee on an empty stomach.

Most regular coffee drinkers can tolerate caffeine on an empty stomach, but some experience unpleasant intestinal issues due to the acids in coffee. Have your coffee with a snack to counteract those acids. 

Try low-acid coffee.

If you’re intermittent fasting or seeking coffee alternatives, switch to a low-acid coffee brand to see if that will improve your jitters. 

Golden Ratio has up to 50% more caffeine than regular coffee, but it’s 5 times less acidic, too. Start with the Original Gold to see if it’s the acidity that’s bugging you in the morning. Steep for less time if you’d like a lighter cup of coffee.

Risks of Too Much Caffeine

Too much caffeine in the short term can lead to coffee jitters, but too much caffeine can have more severe effects in the long term. Increased stress and anxiety levels, cardiovascular problems, and digestive issues are risks of too much caffeine over time. 

A caffeine overdose is rare but also possible. Symptoms of a caffeine overdose or caffeine toxicity can include nausea, vomiting, fever, dizziness, and seizures in the most severe cases. Again, these cases are rare and typically involve excessive caffeine from more than one source.

Seek medical attention immediately if you believe you’re suffering from a caffeine overdose. Outcomes are good with treatment. 

Love coffee, but hate coffee jitters?

Cutting back on caffeine may be something you need to do to keep the coffee jitters at bay. 

If you’ve done that and you’re still not feeling like yourself, the quality of coffee beans you’re drinking could also be to blame for the worst of your symptoms. It’s not a bad idea to test the theory with a better cup. 

You can have a safer, delicious cup of coffee with Golden Ratio. Our low-acid coffee is easier on your stomach without sacrificing the stuff you love about caffeine. Try our variety pack if you’re unsure where to start, or chocolate mint gold for something sweet and refreshing.

Sources

There are quite a few positives linked to coffee consumption, but the main reason most people reach for that morning cup is the energy boost they get shortly after that first sip. 

Too much coffee, though, and you may come down with the jitters. 

Coffee jitters are the physical sensations you get after too much caffeine. They can look like shakiness, nervous energy, and heart palpitations before the inevitable crash once those initial effects begin to wear off.

There are various ways to keep the jitters at bay, including reaching for a low-acid coffee that’s more gentle on digestion. It’s important to nail down first what’s behind the effects of your coffee jitters.

What causes coffee jitters?

Coffee jitters are a common side effect caused by too much caffeine. That doesn’t always mean coffee, either. If you’re mixing coffee with energy drinks or green teas throughout the day, your caffeine consumption can quickly get out of hand.

How much is too much? Most healthy adults can tolerate a moderate amount of caffeine. That’s about 400 mg, or about 4 regular cups of coffee, per day.

Anything within that range and you’re likely to enjoy the positives of coffee consumption and coffee. Those health benefits include a lower chance of developing several illnesses, improved physical performance, and a mood boost.

For most, the coffee jitters are temporary and not very dangerous, but they can cause unpleasant effects in the body. They can also be unsettling if you’re finding it hard to concentrate after the caffeine crash.

How Caffeine Affects the Body

Caffeine is a stimulant. When ingested, it blocks the adenosine receptors responsible for the drowsiness we feel after a night of poor sleep or a long day. That can cause your heart rate and blood pressure to increase temporarily. 

In small to moderate doses, caffeine revs up the brain and nervous system to counteract drowsiness and give you that morning pick-me-up.

In larger doses, caffeine can cause insomnia, headaches, an irregular heart rate, or aggravate gut issuesCutting back on caffeine after having too much for too long can also cause caffeine withdrawal symptoms. 

Those symptoms can mimic the jitters, leading to headaches, tiredness, anxiety, even flu-like effects over time. Experts suggest tapering off caffeine slowly. Incorporate decaf coffee, hydrate with lots of water and get plenty of rest as you battle caffeine withdrawal. 

While withdrawal symptoms can last for days, even more than a week, the coffee jitters typically resolve themselves more quickly if these are new symptoms you’re experiencing. 

How long do the coffee jitters last?

Caffeine’s half-life is about 5-6 hours, so it’ll take at least that long for half of the caffeine you’ve ingested to metabolize in your body. The most obvious caffeine effects usually happen within about 45 minutes after you’ve had your cup of coffee.

That includes the energy boost and bump in alertness people enjoy following their regular espresso or latte. 

Avoiding any amount of caffeine about 8 hours before bedtime is usually a safe bet for those who drink caffeine regularly. The coffee jitters can linger throughout the day in anyone with caffeine sensitivity. 

Here’s how to get rid of coffee jitters.

Time is the only way to get through a case of coffee jitters. Those with a higher level of caffeine sensitivity may feel the effects of caffeine much longer. 

There are a few ways to alleviate some of the symptoms if you’re already experiencing coffee jitters, but waiting it out will work best for most.

Stop ingesting caffeine. 

That may sound obvious until you realize there are other sources of caffeine outside of your cup of coffee. Chocolate, energy drinks, some teas, sodas, kola nuts, even some medications, and supplements all have varying levels of caffeine content. 

Avoid any source of caffeine until those side effects have worn off and you’re feeling more like yourself. Herbal teas are generally caffeine-free.

Drink water.

Hydrate with plain water while you wait for the caffeine's effects to move through your system. It won’t help the caffeine metabolize any quicker, but it will keep any dehydrating effects at bay.

Coffee has a mild diuretic effect, and moderate coffee intake isn’t linked to any risk of dehydration in most healthy adults. If you’re not used to that regular cup of joe, though, or have simply had too much caffeine, reaching for a glass of water is best to get your body back into balance.

Go for a walk.

Some light exercise won’t do much to lower the caffeine levels in your body, but it could relieve any caffeine-related anxiety. Yoga or deep breathing exercises can also help ease some of those nervous symptoms and help you relax.

Eat a healthy meal.

There’s nothing you can eat to metabolize caffeine more efficiently, but a healthy meal full of fiber is a natural way to boost your energy if you’re feeling the post-caffeine crash. 

It can also make you feel better as the caffeine wears off. Reach for leafy greens and healthy grains to get you back on track.

Don’t believe the hype.

You’ve likely read about some additional tips and tricks for battling the coffee jitters, but they may not be backed by scientific evidence.

  • Vitamin C: There’s no evidence that boosting your vitamin C intake will do anything to reverse the jitters. The theory was that caffeine makes your body think it has a vitamin C deficiency. Treat yourself to a grapefruit if you want, but it won’t stop your symptoms.
  • Bananas: Bananas may help with cramping if you’re dehydrated, but they won’t metabolize caffeine faster. More research is needed to determine whether caffeine has a negative effect on potassium. Evidence out there now is limited to singular case studies.
  • Smoking: Old studies claimed that nicotine helped the body clear caffeine more efficiently. Today, we know that nicotine is also a stimulant. Adding one stimulant to another will only exacerbate your symptoms. 

Ways to Drink Coffee Without the Jitters

If you’ve experienced the coffee jitters in the past, you likely don’t want a repeat performance any time soon. Here are a few ways to prevent the worst of the jitters so that you can enjoy the benefits of coffee without the shakes.

Cut out the sweeteners.

Adding sugar to your morning cup may be adding to your jitters. It could even be the real culprit behind what’s making you shaky. Try cutting out any added sugars before removing coffee from your diet completely to see whether the sweeteners are to blame. 

Remember, milk has naturally-occurring sugars from lactose, and some plant-based milk has added sugars. Finding the cause of your symptoms can require an elimination diet outside of your caffeine habit. 

Limit caffeine intake.

If you’ve had the caffeine jitters once, you likely know how much you had to ingest to feel those adverse side effects. Stop drinking coffee or any caffeinated beverages well before that point to keep your caffeine intake at safe levels for you.

Avoid coffee on an empty stomach.

Most regular coffee drinkers can tolerate caffeine on an empty stomach, but some experience unpleasant intestinal issues due to the acids in coffee. Have your coffee with a snack to counteract those acids. 

Try low-acid coffee.

If you’re intermittent fasting or seeking coffee alternatives, switch to a low-acid coffee brand to see if that will improve your jitters. 

Golden Ratio has up to 50% more caffeine than regular coffee, but it’s 5 times less acidic, too. Start with the Original Gold to see if it’s the acidity that’s bugging you in the morning. Steep for less time if you’d like a lighter cup of coffee.

Risks of Too Much Caffeine

Too much caffeine in the short term can lead to coffee jitters, but too much caffeine can have more severe effects in the long term. Increased stress and anxiety levels, cardiovascular problems, and digestive issues are risks of too much caffeine over time. 

A caffeine overdose is rare but also possible. Symptoms of a caffeine overdose or caffeine toxicity can include nausea, vomiting, fever, dizziness, and seizures in the most severe cases. Again, these cases are rare and typically involve excessive caffeine from more than one source.

Seek medical attention immediately if you believe you’re suffering from a caffeine overdose. Outcomes are good with treatment. 

Love coffee, but hate coffee jitters?

Cutting back on caffeine may be something you need to do to keep the coffee jitters at bay. 

If you’ve done that and you’re still not feeling like yourself, the quality of coffee beans you’re drinking could also be to blame for the worst of your symptoms. It’s not a bad idea to test the theory with a better cup. 

You can have a safer, delicious cup of coffee with Golden Ratio. Our low-acid coffee is easier on your stomach without sacrificing the stuff you love about caffeine. Try our variety pack if you’re unsure where to start, or chocolate mint gold for something sweet and refreshing.

Sources

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