Caffeine Hangover and Crashes: Everything You Need to Know!

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Caffeine is the most popular stimulant in the world. Although caffeine is well-known for its energizing properties, it can also cause caffeine hangovers and caffeine crashes.

But what are caffeine hangovers and crashes? How can you recognize and avoid them?

This article tells you everything you need to know about both conditions and offers easy and effective strategies for managing and avoiding energy-draining effects.

What Is a Caffeine Crash?

Caffeine hangovers and caffeine crashes sound similar, but they are two completely different events. A caffeine hangover usually occurs a day or two after caffeine consumption, while a caffeine crash usually occurs on the same day of caffeine consumption.

They happen when you consume caffeine in the morning, and when the caffeine in your body wears off, you crash and can no longer concentrate or work.

Symptoms of a Caffeine Crash

Caffeine crashes are quite common but often misdiagnosed. They usually leave you feeling extremely tired, unable to concentrate, and easily irritable. This is especially true when caffeine masks other problems, such as sleeping disorders.

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.

Takeaway

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