7 Signs You're Sensitive To Caffeine

Ad failed to load

So many folks (like, literally millions) reach for a caffeinated beverage in the morning in order to wake up and feel alert. And many more drink coffees, teas, and energy drinks as the day goes on, in order to stay awake. But what are the signs you are sensitive to caffeine?

If you have a caffeine sensitivity, even a small amount of the stuff can make you feel downright bizarre, often leading to symptoms that run the gamut from a pounding heart, to headaches, to feelings of anxiety. "The average person can take in about 200 to 400mg of caffeine and experience no side effects and fall asleep without difficulty at bedtime," Alexea M Gaffney, MD, of Stony Brook Medicine, tells Bustle. "An individual with caffeine sensitivity will experience [some of the symptoms listed below] or caffeine overdose symptoms with ingestion of as little as 100mg of caffeine."

So, what causes it? "There are several reasons it could happen," Ginger Hultin, MS, RDN, CSO, a Seattle-based Registered Dietitian, Nutritionist and Arivale Coach, tells Bustle. "One is the way that caffeine affects the brain. There are several gene variants that affect the way the liver metabolizes caffeine, which may impact how people respond to caffeine ... There are also genes that increase the predisposition for high blood pressure when caffeine is regularly consumed, and about nine percent of that population has that."

Ad failed to load

If you're sensitive to caffeine, you'll know. After consuming it, and for hours afterward, you might notice a few (or all) of the symptoms below. If you do, and they're bothering you, it may be time to get through your day without coffee, and talk to your doctor about a possible sensitivity to caffeine.

Ad failed to load

1You Feel Hot Or Your Face Flushes

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

Regardless of the temperature of the coffee, many people who are sensitive to caffeine feel hot or "flushed" after drinking it. "They may feel hot or even start sweating," Hultin says. "Caffeine sensitivity can be caused by the way caffeine affects the brain so this may be one reason this occurs."

2You Really, Really Have To Pee

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

Caffeine can also affect sensitive people's GI tract, causing some rather unpleasant side effects. "People who are caffeine sensitive may notice stomach upset when they drink caffeine while others may notice diarrhea," Hutlin says. "Studies are mixed on why this happens — whether it may be a shift in hormones when caffeine is consumed, or other compounds in coffee could stimulate the bowels."

Some folks also notice an increased need to pee. "Increased urination is another symptom of caffeine sensitive people because caffeine is a natural diuretic," she says. "Some people experience more urgency than others."

3You Can Literally Feel Your Heart Pounding In Your Chest

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

If you're suddenly wildly aware of your heart pounding away after drinking a cup of coffee, there's a good chance you're sensitive to caffeine. "Caffeine sensitive individuals may experience palpitations which presents as racing of the heart or an irregular heart beat," says Gaffney. "It can exacerbate abnormal heart rhythms such as atrial fibrillation (A-fib) or tachycardias (abnormally fast heart rhythms). This can be accompanied by a rise in blood pressure, which is also a result of caffeine sensitivity."

Any change in your heart rhythm warrants a trip to your doctor. If it turns out you are caffeine sensitive, they may have you cut back on your coffee intake, or suggest you switch to decaf.

Ad failed to load

4You're Restless In Bed At Night

Ashley Batz/Bustle

While others need coffee in order to feel peppy, even a few sips of coffee can cause you to feel a little too peppy. For example, "caffeine can exacerbate restless leg syndrome," says Gaffney. "The urge to move the legs as well spontaneous jerking leg movements accompanying this syndrome are increased." This normally happens when you're lying in bed at night, and can even happen hours after drinking coffee.

Restless leg syndrome can certainly keep you up, but so can the caffeine itself. "People who are sensitive may also notice that they have trouble sleeping because of caffeine, even if it is separated by many hours in the day," Hultin says. Cue hours of insomnia.

5You Feel "Jittery" Or Have Muscle Spasms

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

The jitters might also play out in the form of muscles spasms. "It can cause twitching through increased muscle activity," Gaffney says. "This can be felt as well as observed as tremors and often accompanies anxiety associated with caffeine intake." Think eye spasms, shaky hands, and the inability to stop tapping your foot.

6You Get Super Anxious Or Stressed

Hannah Burton/Bustle

Speaking of anxiety, feelings of stress and overwhelm can also increase right after consuming caffeine. "Caffeine increases ​stimulation in the adrenal glands and ​can ​amplify stress levels throughout the day," health coach Maranda Elkin tells Bustle. "This can elevate one's perception of stress​ and cause you to overreact in certain situations." You might, for example, feel totally overwhelmed when the phone rings, instead of answering it calmly like you usually do.

Ad failed to load

7You Feel A Bit Uneasy

Hannah Burton/Bustle

If you're sensitive to caffeine, Hutlin says you might "develop an uneasy, nervous feeling" after drinking caffeine, due to the way it affects your brain. Referred to as derealization, this side effect can make you feel a bit disassociated, and usually happens after drinking large amounts of coffee. But it can happen in smaller doses for sensitive people, too. According to Cindy Pineo on Livestrong, "You may be especially vulnerable to caffeine-triggered derealization if you're sleep deprived [or] prone to anxiety disorders."

So if that's the case, you might want to decrease your caffeine intake, to see if that helps. While most people don't experience unpleasant side effects after drinking coffee, these symptoms might indicate that you're sensitive to caffeine, and need to cut back.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

11 Tiny Sunglasses That Will Make You Look Even Cooler Than Kylie Jenner

You know what they say — the tinier the sunglasses, the more stylish the outfit. OK, that's not really a saying, but it seems to be the case these days. Basically every celebrity, model, and It person has been spotted sporting tiny sunglasses as part…
By Sara Tan

9 Ways This Royal Wedding Was Way More Modern Than Past Ones

The newly named Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, made history with their storybook courtship and wedding. What's more, there are myriad ways the royal wedding 2018 was more modern than previous royal weddings. From deciding…
By Brandi Neal

16 Brand New YA Rom-Coms To Add To Your Summer Reading List

Ah, summer. Post-Memorial Day it's all about being outside in the sunshine, lazy pool days and exciting beach trips, warm weather treats, and — most important of all — tote bags packed to the brim with all of the biggest and best summer reads. Whatev…
By Kerri Jarema

10 Little-Known British Traditions Meghan Markle Will Learn When She Marries Prince Harry

As an American woman dating a Brit, I am no stranger to the mishaps that can result from the cultural differences between the U.S. and England. And while I'm sure Meghan Markle has a slew of royal traditions to learn, titles to remember, and fancy ha…
By Kristin Magaldi

I've Paid $18,000 To A $24,000 Student Loan, & I Still Owe $24,000

It all became real the summer before my senior year of college. It was 2010, and my home phone still had a cord, which I wrapped around my fingers as I waited not-so-patiently for the apathetic representative on the other end to tell me the bad news …
By Kaitlyn Cawley

12 Personality Quizzes That Will Help You Determine Your Exact Strengths

Learning more about yourself can be tough. It's so easy to observe others to learn what makes them tick, what areas they really excel in, and the things they could be better at. Doing that to yourself, however, is a whole different story. That's exac…
By Jessica Booth

5 Brand New Short Story Collections You Can Finish In One Sitting This Weekend

Since 2013, May has been known by book-lovers by another name: Short Story Month. If you're ready to kick off this year's celebration the right way, make sure to pick up a short story collection to read over the weekend. Modern life moves more than …
By Sadie Trombetta

I Got Styled By 'Queer Eye's Tan France & Realized I Still Have A Lot Of Fashion "Rules" To Unlearn

When I walked into a New York City Express store on May 2 to get styled by Queer Eye's Tan France, I was ready for anything. And I mean truly anything. I am such a massive fan of the show and Tan that if he had instructed me to wrap myself in tin foi…
By Olivia Muenter

It Isn’t Bad To Have A “Princess Fantasy” — Mine Made Me The Woman I Am Today

What do you want to be when you grow up? If you were anything like me as a kid, at some point, the answer to that question was "a princess." Thanks to good old-fashioned gender stereotypes, most little girls born in the '90s (and even now) grew up in…
By Nicole Pomarico

9 Mother's Day Gifts For Your Mom That Also Give Back

Mother’s Day is around the corner, and unless you’re the type who’s got gift-giving on lock months in advance — and seriously, who is that person? — you might be scrambling a bit for great Mother's day 2018 gift ideas. And while it’s important to cho…
By Carolyn de Lorenzo

Here’s How To Get A FREE 30-Minute Facial At Sephora That Sucks Your Pores Clean

Sephora has long been a mecca for both serious and amateur beauty lovers alike, where they not only have makeup artists that help answer questions about products, but free samples to let you play with new collections. But now they have upped the ante…
By Marlen Komar

Kris Jenner Is FINALLY Launching A Makeup Line With Kylie

Maybe you don't have a favorite sister of the Kar-Jenner clan, and that's perfectly fine. The one thing you can't deny, though, is that when it comes power, no one in that family has more than the world famous momager. Now, Kris Jenner x Kylie Cosmet…
By Shea Simmons

This Kendall Jenner “Diva” Moment Is Really Being Taken Out Of Context

The fashion always takes center stage at the Met Gala, but there's usually a little drama, too. And this time, a member of the Kardashian-Jenner family is involved. People are buzzing about how Kendall Jenner shoved someone at the Met Gala, but after…
By Nicole Pomarico

Feel Like You've Seen Everything On Netflix? Add These Movies To Your Watch List

The weekend may feel too far away, but if you're lacking formal plans, a Netflix marathon session is always a good idea. If you're an avid viewer, however, you probably feel like you've seen everything the streaming platform has to offer already. In …
By Ashley Rey

These 4 Zodiac Signs Are Going To Have The Best Luck In Love This May

Spring fever is here, but not all signs in the zodiac are dealt the same dose of lovin'. Some signs are going to have a better love lives than the rest of us in May, because that's just the way the cookie crumbles. According to astrologer Linda Furia…
By Kaitlyn Wylde

Hillary Clinton Says She's Ready To Fight Like A Republican — EXCLUSIVE

Hillary Clinton Is Not Going Away Quietly. Can Hillary Clinton Please Go Quietly Into The Night? Unlike Losers Before Her, Clinton Is Not Going Gently Into the Night. These headlines, which appeared in various news outlets over the course of the last…
By Catherine Thompson and Jenny Hollander

Here's The Very Best Time To Book Your Summer Vacation If You're Trying To Save Money

Summer is a great time to travel, for obvious reasons. The weather is better. Many offices are more lax about time off. If you have kids, they’re out of school. But there’s one very important element that makes summer not a great time to travel: Cost…
By Emma McGowan
)}