What are Coffee Jitters and How to Get Rid of Them

Drinking coffee while reading

You know those early mornings when you literally have to drag yourself out of bed, and the only thing that motivates you to get up is a steaming cup of coffee. As soon as you take a sip of that hot cup of flavorful beverage, you feel yourself waking up immediately. A few cups later, you are ready to take on the day and conquer the world. Sometimes you even go for another round right after lunch to keep that feeling going.

Then two cups sometimes turns into more, and after having your third or fourth cup of coffee for the day, you suddenly start feeling anxious. You may feel like you are unable to breathe calmly, or you can see your hands shaking in front of your eyes. What you are experiencing at that very moment is a phenomenon commonly known as "coffee jitters", something that most avid coffee lovers are familiar with. If you are a regular caffeine consumer, you are probably aware of your daily limits. Nevertheless, there are days when increased coffee consumption tends to sneak up on you. And when this happens, you find yourself stuck with a case of the coffee jitters.

If you are one of those people who cannot turn your back to coffee, yet often wonder "how to get rid of coffee jitters?", this article is for you.

What Does Coffee Do to Your Body?

Coffee in Italy

Before we get into the main reasons and how to get rid of coffee jitters, let's discuss the effects of coffee on your body first.

Everyone knows that coffee helps you feel energized. It makes you wake up in the morning and gives you a much-needed energy boost during those lazy afternoons. When you are using more energy, your body tends to release a hormone called adenosine. The release of this hormone makes you feel tired and fatigued. Caffeine actually binds with the adenosine receptors before the adenosine hormone can bind to them and make you feel tired. You normally experience this effect within 30 to 60 minutes after consuming coffee and it does not stop for up to 6 hours. So instead of providing you with energy, caffeine works by masking your fatigue.

The Science Behind Coffee Jitters

Rise and shine, its coffee time

The science behind coffee jitters comes down to the chemical profile of the coffee beans. Coffee beans consist of multiple complex molecules such as caffeine, pyrogallol, chlorogenic acid, and catechol. These compounds naturally exist in the coffee beans and have a range of functions to perform. Each of these natural substances present in coffee is absorbed differently inside the body. Of all these constituents, caffeine plays the most important role in triggering coffee jitters. But how?

Caffeine is a natural stimulant that triggers the nervous system. It puts the body in a fight or flight response by boosting alertness via central nervous pathways. Caffeine also increases the rate at which your heart is pumping which increases blood flow inside the body. By increasing the contractions of the heart and overall blood flow, caffeine sometimes induces problems like palpitations, which is a condition where you feel like your heart is racing. Caffeine can also raise your blood pressure.

In a fight or flight mode, your body becomes overly-alert, leading to anxiety, loss of focus, and even shakiness, all of which are the characteristic symptoms of coffee jitters.

How to Get Rid of Coffee Jitters?

Coffee jitters

There are several ways in which you can stop coffee jitters before they become uncomfortable and rather painful.

Stop Drinking Coffee as Soon as You Notice the Side Effects

If you ever feel the symptoms of coffee jitters creeping up on you, like shakiness, stop consuming caffeine right away. This not only includes staying away from coffee but all other products that contain caffeine like dark chocolate, many sodas, energy drinks, many teas, and certain types of desserts.

Also, pay more attention to any supplements, personal care products, or medicines that may have caffeine hidden in them. For example, some migraine or headache aspirin products, common over-the-counter painkillers can have 40 to 60mg of caffeine per tablet. [1] If you don't look carefully enough at the label, what you think is just Aspirin may be loaded with lots of caffeine too. Additionally, certain performance-enhancing supplements like pre-workout formulas can also harbor caffeine. Some of them can even have up to 250mg of caffeine per 10 grams.

Give It Some Time

The stimulatory effects of caffeine usually show up within 45 minutes of consuming coffee and may last up to 3 to 5 hours. [2] Moreover, it may take up to 10 hours for caffeine to flush out from your system completely. [3]

Once caffeine gets out of your system, the symptoms go away on their own. So if the coffee jitters are not too harsh and you can easily bear them without affecting your life, all you need to do is wait it out and watch them subside on their own.

Drink Plenty of Water

Coffee Jitters

Drinking water is the healthiest advice for anyone. It not only keeps your body hydrated but can also maintain optimal functions of the body.

Many anecdotal reports have claimed that drinking water can also help reduce the severity of coffee jitters. This might be because dehydration causes the symptoms to become worse. Therefore, it is a wise move to increase your water intake as you suffer from coffee jitters. The more water you intake, the more quickly your body will flush out the caffeine.

It is also worth remembering that caffeine also acts as a mild diuretic. This means that as soon as it gets into your system, it will force your kidneys to excrete more urine. This increased urination can cause your body to lose water, and the subsequent dehydration may make coffee jitters worse. So to avoid all this fuss, maintain proper hydration by drinking plenty of water. [4] [5]

Calm Yourself

If you are fond of managing your stress levels with daily holistic self-care, you may treat coffee jitters just like any other obstacle. All you need to do to overcome it is to clear your mind and slow down your racing thoughts. You might not be able to lower your blood pressure or your heart rate, but you will be able to soothe your mind, and that really helps.

Burn Off Energy

Exercise

You already know that caffeine works by masking your fatigue. So if you wish for its effects to wear off, make yourself more fatigued. You may either choose mental or physical exercises to expend some energy to overcome the effects of caffeine. Take a jog or go to the gym. You may even start a project that requires a lot of brainstorming. Anything that taxes you and tires you out will be a great remedy to combat coffee jitters.

Preventing Coffee Jitters in the Future

how to prevent Coffee jitters

Prevention is usually better policy than a cure. Stopping coffee jitters is one way to combat them, but preventing them altogether is the best thing to do. With a few preventive measures mentioned below, you can easily enjoy your favorite beverage without the side effects of getting jitters.

Choose Decaf Coffee

While hardcore coffee fans may scoff at decaf versions of coffee, it is actually a great way to prevent jitters. You might also be surprised to see how good a decaf coffee can taste. It has that rich flavor that you adore with a lot less risk of coffee jitters. Plus, it is a great option for those who are sensitive to caffeine.

Put Milk in the Coffee

Coffee jitters

Coffee practically has no calories in it and, therefore, the body absorbs it at a much higher rate, increasing the risk of coffee jitters. When you put milk and fat in your coffee, you make it calorie-rich and it slows down the rate at which caffeine is absorbed by your body. With a slower absorption rate, the risk of getting coffee jitters also goes down significantly.

Reduce the Sugar

Sugar can make coffee jitters worse. You might even be confusing your case of coffee jitters with sugar jitters. This is especially true if you are in the habit of ordering a mocha, caramel macchiato, or other sugary coffee drink. Your body metabolizes sugar at a high rate, making it an instant source of energy. When you overload your system with sugar, such as with extra syrups on your vanilla latte, you are at risk of getting jittery. Just try to cut back on chocolates, flavored syrups or try a sugar-free option of coffee.

Eat Something

When there is food in your stomach, your body automatically slows down the rate at which it absorbs caffeine. So whether it is homemade bacon and eggs or a small scone at your favorite bakery, eating will help you prevent coffee jitters. Besides, coffee is an excellent beverage with which to pair food.

Concluding Thoughts

Latte in Venice

The bold, toasty, and powerful taste of coffee is, no doubt, unmatchable. Coffee is a sacred morning ritual for many,  and some feel that the jitters are totally worth it. However, this does not mean you have to settle for this daily jitteriness.

Whenever you are brewing a cup of coffee, make sure that you keep these jitters in mind. Try adding some cream into your cup or have a scone with your coffee. There are multiple easy ways to prevent coffee jitters, most of which are covered in this article. By following these steps, you can continue enjoying your favorite beverage without facing any discomfort.

To your health and happiness, Doctor Danielle

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