Why You Get Jittery After Drinking Coffee
When you’re pulling yourself out of bed in the morning, sometimes the only thing that makes it worthwhile is that fresh brewed pot of coffee. When you sip on that hot, bold, flavorful cup of joe, you feel yourself waking up almost immediately. After a couple of cups, you’re ready to face the day. You can even turn to this delicious beverage for that early afternoon pick-me-up.
But sometimes after you’ve downed your second or third drink for the day, you get anxious. You’re short on breath, and you can even shake a little. What you’re experiencing is coffee jitters, a phenomenon that most coffee drinkers are familiar with. By understanding what causes this effect, you’ll be able to overcome and prevent it in the future, letting you enjoy the rich warmth of a cup of joe without worrying about getting the jitters.
Coffee Jitters are primarily caused by caffeine. Because caffeine can disrupt your circulatory system, it has the potential to cause a host of side effects associated with elevated heart rate and blood pressure. It’s also worth noting that coffee has some unique properties that make your body react even more to the caffeine. Plus, you may be putting in sugar and sweeteners that contribute to your coffee jitters.
How Caffeine Works
Everyone knows that caffeine helps you feel more energized, waking you up in the morning or giving you a boost in the early afternoon. When you’re using a lot of energy, your body produces a hormone called adenosine which causes you to feel fatigued. Caffeine binds with your adenosine receptors, preventing you from feeling tired. This effect reaches its maximum 30-60 minutes after drinking coffee, but doesn’t fully stop for up to 6 hours.
So rather than giving you energy, caffeine just masks your fatigue. Your heart rate and blood pressure increase, and you get that energy rush. This can lead to side effects like increased tiredness, caffeine dependency, or coffee jitters. Everyone has a limit to the amount of caffeine they can handle, so if you have too much caffeine, you’re likely to being experiencing one of these side effects.
Why Coffee Can Make You Shake
In addition to the caffeine in your coffee, the actual beverage itself can facilitate the jitters. Because you’re drinking your caffeine rather than eating it, you body will absorb it much more quickly. This is especially true if all you have for breakfast is a cup of java. The acidity of the coffee also impacts how it’s processed by your body.
Separately from the caffeine, sugar can give you the jitters, too. If you like coffee with your creamer, or always reach for a caramel macchiato at your local coffee shop, you’re adding fuel to the jitter fire. If you like to use coffee creamers, be sure to choose a healthy one. By giving your body a huge rush of energy while also preventing the feeling of fatigue, you raise your risk of getting coffee jitters.
Caffeine is absorbed into the body faster on an empty stomach. If you frequently enjoy your coffee a la carte, you’re actually running an even greater risk of coffee jitters. Consider having your coffee with a snack, or as part of a meal. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, anyway.
How To Get Rid of Coffee Jitters
Coffee jitters can range from a mild discomfort to distressing. When you have the jitters, you have a few options for getting rid of them. Depending on how sever your jitters are and what your situation is, you’ll want to try different methods. Experiment with different techniques to come up with the best routine for keeping your coffee jitters under control.
Wait for the caffeine to wear off
Coffee jitters will always just go away on their own. Caffeine won’t stay in your system for more than 6 hours, but almost all of it has been used up after an hour. So if you’re getting anxious and shaking half an hour after your last cup, try waiting for up to 30 minutes, and the effect should pass.
If you’re sensitive to caffeine, however, this may not be an option. Your coffee jitters may be too severe to bear, or they’ll last beyond the standard 60 minute threshold. If you have a sensitivity, or you just had way too much caffeine, you’ll want to take more proactive measures.
Try to calm yourself down
This method will work better for some than others. If you regularly manage your stress levels with holistic self care, then treat coffee jitters just like any other obstacle. Clear your mind and try to slow your thoughts. You may not be able to slow your heart rate or lower your blood pressure, but at least you’ll be able to calm yourself, getting rid of the jitters in the process.
Burn off some energy
Caffeine reduces your fatigue, so make yourself more fatigued. Whether you use physical or mental exercise, expend some energy to overcome the effects of the caffeine. Go on a jog or hit the gym. Get started on a project for work. Anything that would normally tire you out will be a great way to combat the effect of coffee jitters, assuming that you’re in a position to do so.
If you’re dehydrated, caffeine will have a more powerful effect on you. While there’s water in coffee, caffeine is a diuretic, causing that water to leave your body. Make sure that you’re drinking plenty of water before, during, and after you enjoy that double espresso. You’ll be able to soothe the effects of your coffee jitters without having to go on a run or wait an hour.
Preventing Coffee Jitters In The Future
Stopping coffee jitters is one way of combating them, but preventing them altogether is the best way to do it. Jitters are caused by too much caffeine and not enough water or food the right preventative measures, you’ll be able to continue drinking your favorite beverage without getting the anxiety and jitters that sometimes come with it.
Drink less coffee
This is a no-brainer, but can be tough for the most ravenous coffee fans. Unless you have a caffeine sensitivity, you’ll be fine after a cup, or even two. Having your favorite blend every morning is an important part of your day, so keep having it. But when you’re downing your second mid-afternoon pot of coffee, you may need to cut back. Plus, you’ll be able to bolster the effects of caffeine by avoiding over exposing yourself to it.
Drink decaf coffee
Another option that hardcore coffee fanatics scoff at. But you’d be surprised at how good decaf coffee can taste. It still holds all of that rich, bold flavor that you love, but without the chance of coffee jitters. Plus, it works as an option for coffee fans who are sensitive to caffeine. You can even make half-caf coffee to keep your caffeine boost without overwhelming yourself.
Put milk in your coffee
When you have food in your stomach, your body absorbs caffeine more slowly. Coffee has no calories, so the caffeine is easily absorbed by your body. By adding the fat and sugar content of milk, you effectively slow down the absorption of caffeine into your body, preventing those coffee jitters. Plus, who doesn’t love a latte after lunch. This option won’t really help those with a caffeine intolerance, unfortunately.
Cut out the sugar
It’s entirely possible that you coffee jitters are actually sugar jitters. If your daily brew is a large vanilla latte with extra syrup, you may get the shakes from the sugar. Sugar is easily metabolized by the body, making it a source of quick energy. When you have too much, you’re at risk of getting anxious and jittery. So try cutting back on the syrups, or switch to a sugar free option and see if you stop getting coffee jitters.
Just like with putting milk in your coffee, you can slow the effect of caffeine on your body by giving your stomach something to digest. Whether it’s a lemon scone at your favorite coffee shop, or bacon and eggs for home, eating will help prevent coffee jitters. Plus, coffee is an excellent beverage pairing for tons of different flavor profiles, letting you enhance your day with coffee even more.
Why Some People Can’t Handle Coffee
Enjoying Your Coffee While Keeping Calm
For many of us, cutting coffee out of our lives is out of the question. Even with the drawbacks of coffee jitters, the powerful, toasty taste of coffee is unmatched by any other beverage. The morning ritual revolves around your cup of joe, so to many, the jitters are worth it. But you don’t have to settle for constantly getting the jitters.
Make sure that you’re keeping the coffee jitters in mind when you brew each cup. Don’t be afraid to add a splash of cream into your cup, or to have a glass of water and some food. There are plenty of easy ways to prevent coffee jitters. By taking simple steps to prevent them, you can continue to enjoy your favorite morning brew without experiencing any discomfort.