Caffeine Hangover and Crashes: Everything You Need to Know!

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Caffeine has been shown to increase alertness, but it also has the potential to induce unpleasant withdrawal symptoms and sleeplessness. But what are caffeine hangovers and caffeine crashes? How do you recognize a coffee hangover and stay clear of this condition?

Read on and learn everything you need to know about these conditions. Discover easy and effective strategies for managing and avoiding energy-draining effects right now!

What Is a Caffeine Crash?

Although the terms “caffeine hangover” and “caffeine crash” may be used interchangeably because of their similarity in pronunciation, they really refer to two distinct phenomena.

A caffeine hangover can last for up to two days after you stop drinking caffeine, but a caffeine crash often hits within a day.

Caffeine crashes occur when you ingest caffeine first thing in the morning and then find that you are unable to focus or get anything done once the caffeine has worn off.

Symptoms of a Caffeine Crash

It’s not uncommon for people to misdiagnose a caffeine crash as something else entirely. You’ll probably feel exhausted, foggy-headed, and short-fused after taking one of them. This is especially true when other issues, including sleep disturbances, are being covered up by the caffeine.

When the caffeine levels start falling, all the symptoms of the underlying problems appear.

These may include:

  • extreme tiredness
  • irritability
  • inability to concentrate
  • headache

How to Avoid a Caffeine Crash

A caffeine crash can kill your productivity in the second half of the day and leave you feeling miserable and unhappy. Luckily, there are a few tips that can help make caffeine crashes a thing of the past.

1. Focus on Sleep

Caffeine is often consumed to mask a lack of sleep or insufficient sleep. If you fix the underlying problem of inadequate sleep, you can drastically reduce the likelihood of a caffeine crash.

Of course, correcting your sleep patterns is easier said than done, so you may need to explore sleep techniques to get the sleep you need.

2. Spread Out Your Caffeine Intake

Cimbali espresso

Image credit: Cimbali

A caffeine crash occurs when the body begins to break down all the caffeine consumed. This is most common when all of the caffeine is consumed in the morning, leaving no caffeine in the body during the second half of the day.

One way to mitigate this is to spread out caffeine consumption over a longer period of time. Instead of drinking all three cups of coffee in the morning, try drinking two cups in the morning and one at noon.

This way, you won’t take in too much caffeine, but you also won’t go from too much caffeine in your body to none at all. Spreading out your caffeine intake helps prevent a caffeine crash.

3. Limit Your Intake

The more caffeine you consume, the more severe the crash. Although it is safe to consume 400 mg of caffeine per day according to the FDA, this increases the risk of a caffeine crash.

If you can reduce your intake to less then 100 mg per day, having no caffeine in your body won’t make much difference compared to its peak.

4. Decrease Your Intake Slowly

If you regularly consume caffeine and want to reduce or eliminate it from your diet, it’s best to do so gradually over several days to weeks rather than abruptly stopping drinking coffee.

However, if you regularly consume caffeine and suffer from caffeine-crash symptoms due to skipping your morning coffee or other caffeine-containing beverage of choice, simply sipping that beverage should alleviate the symptoms.

What Is a Caffeine Hangover?

Although a caffeine hangover doesn’t have much in common physiologically with a hangover from alcohol consumption, the symptoms can be similar. A caffeine hangover occurs when your body goes through caffeine withdrawal.

Caffeine is addictive, and when your body stops getting the amount, it’s used to, withdrawal symptoms occur. This usually happens a day or two after the last caffeine intake.

A caffeine hangover is no fun, but the good news is that there are no long-term side effects. You just need time to get over it.

Symptoms of a Caffeine Hangover

There are three common symptoms associated with a caffeine hangover:

  • Headache
  • lethargy
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Headache and lethargy are by far the most common symptoms, but occasionally nausea and vomiting can occur. However, this is rarely the case.

How to Avoid Caffeine Hangovers

The best way to avoid a caffeine hangover is to avoid large amounts of caffeine, but what else can you do? Here are two tips to make caffeine hangovers a thing of the past.

1. Limit Caffeine Consumption

To much caffeine in coffee

Limiting your overall caffeine intake is the best way to prevent a caffeine hangover. The less you consume, the less your body relies on getting more.

While you can safely consume 400 mg of caffeine per day, if you can keep your caffeine levels below 200 mg, you can avoid a caffeine hangover. So you might want to limit your daily cappuccinos and lattes that are heavy on caffeine from 2 shots of espresso, which are typically the basis for these coffee drinks.

2. Take Frequent Caffeine Breaks

Coffee addict quote

Your body needs a break from caffeine occasionally. Otherwise, you’ll develop a dependency. We recommend taking a caffeine break 1 or 2 days a week. If caffeine is part of your daily routine, it’s only a matter of time before you have a caffeine hangover.

However, if you only consume caffeine every now and then when you need it, you don’t need to worry about a caffeine hangover.


There you have it! Everything to know about caffeine hangovers and crashes, including how to recognize and avoid them in the future. If you stick to the above recommendations, you will have a better coffee experience and, most importantly, happier and higher-energy days!


Featured Image Credit: Crystal Shaw, Unsplash