Coffee and Side Effects: Seven Signs It’s Time to Give it Up

blue cup of coffee on black background for design purpose

Sleep problems are not the only problem that caffeine can cause at night. Some people may differ in their sensitivity to caffeine, a stimulant found in coffee that affects the central nervous system.

What are the signs that you need to cut back or switch to decaf?

Too much caffeine can lead to headaches, the Mayo Clinic warned, which is just one of seven physical warning signs that you’re drinking too much. Another symptom of excessive coffee consumption is “heart palpitations.”

In some people, this can happen after drinking just one cup of coffee, which shows that your body is really sensitive to the stimulant. If this is the case, you may want to switch to decaf or give up coffee altogether. Another possible side effect of coffee is feeling “nervous” and/or “irritable”.

People are advised not to drink more than four cups of coffee in 24 hours. This is equivalent to 400 mg of caffeine, but depending on what kind of coffee you drink, the caffeine content may vary. The Mayo Clinic added, “Pregnant women or women trying to become pregnant and those who are breastfeeding should talk to their doctors about limiting their caffeine intake to less than 200 mg per day.”

That’s the equivalent of two cups of coffee a day – and that’s if you don’t drink another caffeinated beverage, such as tea. “Excessive consumption of caffeine can cause unpleasant side effects and may not be the best choice for people taking certain medications,” the Mayo Clinic said.

Medications and herbal supplements that can interact with caffeine include:

  • Ephedrine
  • Theophylline
  • Echinacea

Mixing caffeine with this type of medication, used in decongestants, “can increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, or seizures.”


Theophylline “is used to open airways in the bronchi” and tends to have “caffeine-like effects”. It can cause feelings of nausea and heart palpitations.


Widely used to prevent colds, this herbal supplement can also enhance the unpleasant effects of caffeine. Too much caffeine can also cause “muscle tremors” and lead to “insomnia”.

Caffeine consumed in the afternoon can even disrupt your sleep many hours later. This can lead to reduced activity during the day and reduced productivity the next day. “Using caffeine to mask a lack of sleep can cause an undesirable cycle,” warns the Mayo Clinic.

The cycle goes as follows:

  • Drink coffee to stay alert throughout the day
  • Caffeine in coffee keeps you awake at night
  • Reduced sleep duration, which makes you feel tired during the day
  • Sleep problems are not the only problem that caffeine can cause at night.

Caffeine consumption can also lead to “frequent urination or inability to control urination”.

So, if you experience any of the following seven signs, cutting back on caffeine may help:

  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Nervousness
  • Irritability
  • Frequent urination or inability to control urination
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Muscle tremors
Avatar photo

Written by Emma Miller

I am a registered dietitian nutritionist and own a private nutrition practice, where I provide one-on-one nutritional counseling to patients. I specialize in chronic disease prevention/ management, vegan/ vegetarian nutrition, pre-natal/ postpartum nutrition, wellness coaching, medical nutrition therapy, and weight management.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Doctors Have Named the Most Dangerous Honey for the Body

Doctor Names the Deadly Danger of Seeds