Drinking Too Much Coffee: 4 Signs You’re Overdoing It

Here’s when coffee’s perks turn into problems.

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It’s safe to say that America has a tad bit of a coffee obsession. According to the National Coffee Association, 62 percent of Americans in 2017 drank coffee on a daily basis. Luckily for us, our java habit has some health benefits; some research says a healthy coffee intake may lower risk of cancer and increase longevity. (Here’s how to make your daily cuppa even healthier.)

While that’s a bit of great news for coffee junkies, is it possible to have too much of a good thing? That depends. Up to 400 milligrams of caffeine, or about four cups’ worth of coffee, a day, is considered safe for most adults, but everyone is different. Here are some red flags that you might be guzzling too much coffee.

1. You can’t sleep. If you have a habit of sipping coffee in the afternoon for an extra energy boost, it could affect your sleep later on. Even though caffeine reaches its peak in your blood within an hour of drinking, you can continue to feel its effects for four to six hours. What’s more, caffeine tolerance tends to decrease with age. So the java habit of your college years may not work for your 40- or 50-something bod.

2. You feel anxious. Coffee jolts your nervous system, which gives you that sweet, sweet energy buzz. If you drink too much, however, it can overstimulate your nervous system and make you, well, nervous. It may also cause such symptoms as shakiness, a racing heart, or even panic attacks.

3. You have the runs. Due to coffee’s slight laxative effects, sippin’ on a cuppa in the A.M. can help keep your bowel movements regular. The more you sip, though, the more your digestive system may trip, and give you a little more bowel movement than you bargained for (a.k.a., diarrhea).

4. You’re prone to headaches. A headache can actually be a sign of caffeine withdrawal, which can happen if your body is used to four cups a day, and then suddenly you cut your daily java fix down to one. If you feel like you need to cut down, do so slowly, so you don’t suffer any of the bad effects.

All this said, if coffee is your main vice, don’t fret. Just listen to your body and monitor the possible effects of coffee and caffeine on your health, so you can learn what amount of brew is healthy for you.