Why Does Coffee Make Me Jittery? (Explained)

So what causes the jitters? To put it simply, it’s the excessive consumption of caffeine.

Many coffee drinkers have experienced the jitters after drinking coffee. It’s best described as the crash after your caffeine hits, making you feel drained, down, and even a little shaky.

If you’re feeling these symptoms, then it’s a sign to curb your caffeine intake. If you continue down this path, jitters won’t be the only thing you’ll be experiencing.

Too much caffeine is known to cause side effects like headaches, anxiety, and insomnia.

In this article, I’ll be delving into the science behind coffee jitters and give you tips on how you can avoid them and other side effects.

Jump in!

What Is “Coffee Jitters”? 

Coffee jitters” is a side effect of too much caffeine.

It’s denoted by a caffeine crash, shaking, and loss of concentration that usually happens when you drink a lot of coffee in a day.

Caffeine has its benefits such as increased metabolism and improved brain cognition, but when ingested in large amounts, it can quickly make your body dependent on it.

Why Do You Get Jitters From Coffee? 

Caffeine affects the central nervous system by providing an energy boost and when it leaves your system, it triggers the jitters.

Caffeine found in coffee is known to disrupt blood circulation and is associated with the elevation of heart rate and blood pressure.

When caffeine leaves the system, your body goes through the “shakes,” especially when it’s used to large amounts of caffeine daily.

Scientific research has found out that sugar is also an accomplice.

Ever heard of a sugar high?

As the name implies, sugar can jack up your blood sugar levels and like caffeine, it also inevitably brings them crashing down.

Can Only A Cup Of Coffee Make Me Jittery? 

One cup of coffee usually won’t make people jittery.

The FDA recommends keeping your daily caffeine intake to below 400 mg, which roughly equals 4 cups of coffee. An average cup of 240 ml coffee has about 30 to 95 mg of caffeine in it, which is well within the limit.

However, caffeine can affect us all differently.

Some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others, so they may experience side effects even with just a small amount of caffeine.

The side effects like jitters occur when the body’s threshold for caffeine is crossed. But if you’re not caffeine sensitive, one cup of coffee should be safe for you.

Watch the video below to learn more about the jitters and how it’s connected to caffeine intake.

Learn more about the jitters.

Can Coffee Make Me Shaky And Weak? 

Yes. Among the side effects of coffee intoxication are shaking and feeling weak.

Coffee intoxication happens when you consume caffeine in high doses.

Coffee affects your nervous system and your heart, which results in an increased heart rate that generally causes anxiety and jitters.

Other side effects include hands shaking uncontrollably, increased blood pressure, and a change in mood.

Why Am I Suddenly Sensitive to Caffeine?

Various factors like genetics, medication, and health conditions can cause caffeine sensitivity.

There are six genes that can often determine how your body metabolizes and processes caffeine, leading to a genetic disposition toward low caffeine tolerance.

Other times, some medication and herbal supplements can make your caffeine tolerance go haywire.

People with anxiety or depression are also more susceptible to feeling caffeine’s effects because it can exacerbate these symptoms.

But sometimes, it’s simply because you aren’t used to drinking caffeinated beverages at all.

In this case, even small amounts of caffeine can have a palpable effect on your body.

If you do find that you are caffeine sensitive, the best thing to do is to moderate your caffeine intake by avoiding beverages with high caffeine content and keeping your daily coffee consumption to just one cup per day.

How Long Do Coffee Induced Side Effects Last? 

Coffee-induced side effects can last around the same time as caffeine stays in your body.

As I previously mentioned, caffeine affects people differently. But it usually starts to affect the body 10 to 15 minutes after you drink coffee.

The effects reach their peak after 50 to 60 minutes and can stay that way for up to 5 to 6 hours.

Then the amount of caffeine in your body starts to decrease, and after 9 to 10 hours, caffeine exits your system.

So the window for coffee-induced side effects is the first 5 to 6 hours but can extend to a total of 9 to 10 hours. 

Magnesium for Coffee Jitters

Some studies posit that coffee jitters are also linked to calcium and magnesium deficiency.

Magnesium is a mineral that is essential to many of our bodily functions. It has several benefits like anti-inflammatory properties, reducing the risk for heart disease, and preventing high blood pressure.

When you drink too much coffee, your body releases magnesium and calcium to compensate for the resulting acidity. This deficiency can also cause the shakes in some people.

Meanwhile, some research contends that more specifically, coffee causes our stomach lining to stop absorbing minerals like magnesium.

In either case, taking magnesium supplements or eating food high in alkaline like nuts, citrus fruits, and leafy vegetables can address this deficiency.

How To Get Rid Of The Jitters

Consuming coffee in moderation is the best way to avoid jitters.

The thing is, this side effect is often enough to ruin your day.

Plus, headaches, loss of concentration, mood swings can definitely make your tasks harder. So making sure that your caffeine fix won’t affect your day negatively should be your priority.

With that said, here are a few other scientifically proven tips that you can try to avoid the jitters!

Stay Hydrated

Drinking water regularly can help you stay hydrated and reduce the effects of caffeine, especially since caffeine is a known diuretic and can dehydrate you.

Dehydration can also cause headaches, so make sure you drink your fluids!

Drink Quality Coffee

Drinking good-quality coffee results in fewer side effects. Therefore, you should always try to find good quality beans to make your coffee drink. 

Black coffee is also considered to be the healthiest variation of coffee as it contains no additives like creamers and sweeteners.

Meditate

Meditation can help you reduce anxiety. It can keep you focused and help you manage your stress.

Think happy thoughts!

Eat Well

Eating habits have a direct relationship with how you manage your health.

Fruits that contain vitamin C may help reduce the side effects of coffee. Plus, a good solid meal can help you reduce the effects of jitters too.

Sleep Well

Getting that 8 hours of sleep ensures that you have the energy and the right mood for the next day, curbing your need for caffeine.

Exercise

Caffeine helps you burn calories by fueling you for your workouts. But more than that, exercise will also help you avoid jitters because you’ll be sweating off all that extra caffeine.

Coffee can have its downsides too.

What Makes You More Jittery? Coffee, Tea, or Energy Drinks? 

In terms of caffeinated beverages that make you jittery, energy drink wins.

The caffeine content determines which caffeinated beverage is more likely to cause jitters.

Energy drinks usually contain anywhere between 100 to 300 mg of caffeine. A regular cup of coffee averages 100 mg only, while tea has the lowest caffeine content among the three with just 50 mg.

It’s not just caffeine content too that makes energy drinks more prone to side effects as these beverages are often loaded with sugar and artificial flavors.

Coffee in comparison, especially black coffee, is healthier because it has less sugar and additives.

Energy drinks are designed to enhance athletic performances, so they’re much suited for those who work out daily. This is why their caffeine content is exponentially higher than the other drinks.

However, both coffee and energy drinks can still give you jitters and other side effects.

Tea emerges as the gentlest caffeinated drink. It’s just enough to give you a mild energy boost without subjecting you to adverse side effects.

Take a look at this table that compares coffee, tea, and energy drinks:

TeaEnergy DrinksCoffee
Caffeine50 mg100 to 300 mg100 to 200 mg
Additivessugar, milk, honeysweeteners, artificial flavors, synthetic vitamins(optional) milk, creamers, sweeteners
Side Effects?minormajormajor
Tea VS Energy Drinks VS Coffee: Get to know your caffeinated beverages.

Final Thoughts

Coffee jitters are one of caffeine’s negative side effects that can blindside you. More often than not, it’s caused by excessive caffeine use.

If you find yourself experiencing jitters, the best thing to do is gradually reduce your caffeine intake.

Bear in mind that the recommended caffeine limit per day to avoid jitters and other complications.

But other factors such as caffeine tolerance and the presence of sugar and other additives can also lead you to experience jitters, so always be careful of your consumption.

As always, moderation is key. Follow that tip, and you’re all set!

Matt Marshall

As I learn more and more about coffee and coffee products I want to share all my learnings with you here on this website. I hope you find my articles useful and entertaining to read.

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