If you're downing a few cups of coffee during the day and you feel fine, don't worry — there's likely no problem there. But, if you're noticing some weird things happening as you down your third, fourth, fifth, or even sixth (slow down, Lorelai Gilmore!) cup, it could mean it's time to cut back. They're a few scary things that can happen if you drink excess coffee in the day, and unless you start cutting back, you're not likely to see the signs subside. So, you might want to swap one or two of those brews for water or juice, instead.
As a certified health coach, I work with clients on feeling energized and mentally aware in the day, and for the most part, most of them really do love their coffee. Coffee has great benefits, like boosting cognitive function, having a high antioxidant content, and speeding the metabolism to aid in weight and health efforts, but like all good things, you can get too much. And when you're drinking too much caffeine, your body might retaliate a bit, making you feel uneasy and strip you from reaping those clear benefits that you've come to love. If you're starting to have some weird side effects, reduce the amount your drinking gradually to see if the symptoms go away. Here are seven scary things that can happen if you drink too much caffeine in the day.
1. You Could Get Heart Palpitations
If you're drinking too much caffeine in the day, you might start to notice heart palpitations and other erratic heart symptoms that signify an unregulated response. This might feel like your heart is racing or beating super fast, and you might feel it outside your chest, even.
2. Digestive Woes
According to an article published in the medical journal "Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition" in 2006, drinking too much caffeine can irritate the stomach lining in excess, leading to nausea, bowel movements that are abnormal, and stomach cramps.
3. High Anxiety
According to Roland Griffiths, Ph.D, a professor in the departments of psychiatry and neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, to Livestrong, drinking too much coffee can lead to heightened anxiety (especially if you're already an anxious person to begin with). So, if you're more on edge than usual, you might want to cut back.
If you're up all night and can't seem to fall asleep, it could be from drinking too much caffeine in the day. This is even worse if you're drinking in the afternoon or evening, as it can interfere with circadian rhythm patterns. To stop tossing and turning, cut back starting at noon or so and see how you feel.
According to studies in the 2005 issue of Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, drinking too much caffeine can lead to dehydration, and your body can go through many severe changes once reaching a certain point. Dehydration can interfere with cognitive ability, energy levels, and normal bodily organ functions.
If you're feeling lightheaded and dizzy, it could mean you're drinking too much caffeine and should cut back. Unfortunately, drinking too much can mess with blood flow to the brain, causing you to experience head problems and uneasiness.
7. Excessive Sweating
Because of your heightened levels of arousal after downing a few cups of coffee, you might notice your body heating up, and you might see a few bouts of excessive sweating appear. Not only is this uncomfortable, but it can dehydrate you (so drinking more coffee will make it even worse).
If you notice any of these scary signs, you should swap some coffee or less caffeinated drinks, like juice, water, or herbal tea.