Caffeine: How Much is too Much?

For many of us, it’s a crucial part to beginning our day; a vital fuel necessary before we do anything or talk to anyone. A cup of coffee can be the difference between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde to our family and coworkers. With dozens of different ways to prepare it and often immediate effects, it’s no wonder why millions of Americans rely on caffeine to make it through their day.

Before we get into just how much is too much, it is worth noting there are some positive side effects of this energy-inducing substance. It’s been known to not only detox the liver and be cleansing for your colon, but also a helpful aid in the fight against Alzheimer’s. Additionally, caffeine has been known as a potential means of fighting Parkinson’s disease, the development of kidney stones, and type 2 diabetes.

While these are all beneficial influences, it is important to remember that moderation is key. Consuming too much of this alluring stimulant can also have harmful effects on your body.

Excessive Caffeine

So, how much is too much caffeine? It turns out consuming over 400 milligrams a day can start having negative consequences on your body. This is equal to about 4 cups of coffee. Keep in mind, some people are more tolerant to caffeine consumption than others, so if you don’t regularly drink coffee, you may be more susceptible to its negative effects. For example, too much caffeine has been known to stimulate stomach acid in your body that can lead to unpleasant aches and pains.  Other consequences of exceeding this 400-milligram limit include:

  • Restlessness
  • Easy irritation
  • Increased heartrate
  • Headaches
  • Lack of sleep

As expected, caffeine keeps you up. In fact, that’s the primary reason why people ingest it to begin with. A normal adult requires at least an 8-hour sleep every night to function to their fullest potential. Drowning your body in stimulants only interferes with your sleep cycle. Since sleep loss is a cumulative process, even slight losses here and there can add up.

A disruptive cycle of having coffee or energy drinks to keep yourself awake during the day only to have them continue to keep you up during the night can begin to seriously compromise your health. Considering coffee is prone to stay in your system for over 12 hours, it’s wise to curb your consumption by noon every day to avoid developing potential sleep deprivation. Since caffeine is a drug (classified as a stimulant), you can, in fact, develop an addiction or subsequently have a caffeine overdose. The most prevalent symptoms of a caffeine overdose are:

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Heart palpitation
  • Extreme jitters
  • Insomnia

If you or someone you know has experienced any of these symptoms and are habitual coffee drinkers, it may be time to ease up or cease consumption all together. No amount of wide-awake work productivity is worth the detriment of your health.

There’s no question what we’re talking about is a daily routine and habit for millions of people; however, with any habit, it can be easy to overdo it. Try to keep it down under 3-4 cups a day to avoid these potential debilitating consequences. As always, a healthy and natural night’s sleep is the best way to feel awake and alert during the day.

If you find you’re struggling to manage your caffeine intake to help you normalize your sleeping patterns, it may be best to seek the advice of a sleep specialist. Dr. Shukla has several offices throughout the NYC area and can help you address any sleep issues, whether they’re caused by an excessive caffeine intake or other contributing factors. Get in contact today.

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