Alarming warning signs you should cut back on coffee.
If you’re a coffee drinker, you already know from experience that a fourth cup of coffee can make you jittery and restless. But you may not know that doing this on a regular basis can eventually promote lasting feelings of anxiety. And even cause partial loss of muscle control. Or even the loss of the ability to urinate. These are all very scary but real side effects of drinking too much coffee (more than 4 cups or 400 mg of caffeine, which the U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend as maximum). The Mayo Clinic lists a handful of the most common side effects of drinking too much coffee. We have written about the top ones below. And if any of them ring a bell with you, it might be time to cut back on caffeine.
1 You Get Headaches
“When caffeine is taken on a regular basis, the body develops a dependency on its effects,” says Kelli Tornstrom, NP, a nurse in Neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Wisconsin. “And because caffeine restricts the blood vessels that surround the brain, when a person stops getting their usual amounts, those blood vessels get bigger. Which then increases the blood flow around the brain and puts pressure on nerves. This can cause caffeine withdrawal headaches. These headaches can last for as long as two weeks as the body adjusts to not having caffeine.”
2 Inability to Control Urination Or Frequent Urination
Caffeine is known for being a very effective diuretic, which means it causes your bladder to go into overdrive and make you to have to go to the bathroom more often. If you have this symptom, you should think twice when you reach for that cup of joe. “Avoid bladder irritants, like acidic foods, alcohol and the biggest one, caffeine” the Mayo Clinic says.
3 Rapid Heartbeat
There are many things that can trigger fast heart beats above 100 beats per minute, which is known as tachycardia. An illness normally caused by “reasons unrelated to normal physiological stress,” like exercise, writes experts at the Mayo Clinic. Among these triggers are things like low blood pressure, fever, smoking, overactive thyroid, sudden stress and probably the most common: drinking too much caffeine.
If you get “essential tremors”, your body can tremble or shake out of control. “This trembling could happen mostly in your hands—especially as you do small tasks, like tying shoelaces or drinking from a glass,” says The Mayo Clinic.
These tremors can be caused by consuming too much caffeine. Among the lifestyle changes and remedies that the Mayo Clinic says people should try is relaxation techniques, lowering your alcohol use and of course reducing your coffee consumption. “Ditch the caffeine,” the Mayo Clinic says. “Caffeine and other stimulants can be the precursor to tremors.”
5 Not Being Able To Sleep
If you want good and lasting sleep, the people at the Mayo Clinic say you should stay clear of anything that contains caffeine at least 10 hours before you hit the sack. They say the same for other stimulants. “The stimulating triggers of caffeine and nicotine last for hours and hours and can destroy any chances of getting quality sleep,” writes the Mayo Clinic staff.
According to Craig Sawchuk, Ph.D., L.P., using caffeine is connected with feelings of anxiety and nervousness. If you’re dealing with feelings of nervousness, he gives this blunt advice: “Avoid the caffeinated drinks. They can and will make you feel nervous and will even interfere with sleep.”
But he also says: “If your anxiety is intense and interfering with your daily activities or progress in life, you should probably seek help from counseling (psychotherapy), or even medication if needed.”