How to Counteract Caffeine: What to Do When You’ve Drunk Too Much Coffee

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Shaky hands, cramps, and an overall jitteriness. If you ever drank too much coffee you know the feeling. Sometimes, when people have trouble sleeping, they make up for the incoming drowsiness by drinking an extra cup or two of coffee or tea.

But instead of keeping you awake and alert, this might cause a number of issues. Too much caffeine can give you unpleasant symptoms, the most notable being caffeine nausea and having the jitters.

If you’ve drunk two (or three or even four) cups of strong coffee, and you’re feeling unwell, you will have to flush out the caffeine. This article looks at the ways how to counteract caffeine safely and get back to feeling normal again.

How to Counteract Caffeine

caffeine nausea
caffeine nausea

A cup of tea or coffee can energize you when you’re feeling sluggish, but too much can bring forth a myriad of nasty symptoms. These range from palpitations and shaking hands to headaches, nausea, and diarrhea.

While a cup or two of coffee every day is fine for most people, it is important that you stay within the limits and not overdose on caffeine. While tolerance levels may differ from person to person, it is generally agreed that 400mg (about 4 cups of strongly brewed coffee) is the cutoff point.

Because of this, it is recommended that you drink no more than 3 cups of coffee a day, as exceeding the 400mg limit will leave you feeling sick. But if you’ve gone overboard with your favorite cold brew, you can do these things to counteract all the caffeine you consumed.

Drink Water:

Teas and coffee are known to have slightly drying properties and can cause dry mouth for many people. Because of this, caffeine and nausea are often seen going hand in hand. This can also cause headaches and dizziness. To counteract these effects, drink lots of water.

The caffeine will eventually leave your system but in the meantime, keep sipping from a large bottle of water. This will reduce the feelings of nausea and keep you feeling too sick.

Get Moving:

No, we aren’t talking about a full workout. But walking and even jogging can help deal with caffeine jitters. A gentle workout will get your blood flowing and help you feel less unsettled. If you don’t like the idea of walking or exercise, you can try something like yoga or Pilates.


Looking for how to reverse the effects of caffeine? If you want something more calming than yoga, meditation can help combat nausea and anxiety, soothing jitters and antsy feeling in your hands and feet.

Combining meditation with the deep breathing exercises mentioned below is also useful for many people. Meditating for 5-10 minutes will increase the supply of oxygen to the brain, calming your thoughts and making you feel alert, and soothe your nerves.

Take a Deep Breath:

Besides the jitters, too much caffeine symptoms can also manifest in anxiety. Deep breathing exercises or techniques are the easiest ways to counter caffeine. This will reduce feelings of anxiety and stress, making you feel much more relaxed.

A quick breathing exercise involves lying down, then breathing through your stomach as deeply as possible. Once your chest rises, hold your breath for a few seconds and then slowly exhale through your chest then your stomach.

Replenish Your Electrolytes:

If all that caffeine upset your stomach, drinking water alone won’t help. You need to make up for the electrolytes that your body has lost, as well as water. 

You can drink something like Pedialyte to restore your body’s electrolyte imbalance. You can also drink smoothies, milkshakes, juice, or Gatorade to stave off dehydration.

Alternative Methods for Counteracting Caffeine

As someone who is knowledgeable on the topic of reducing caffeine intake, let me share my thoughts on the matter. For those who seek to lower their caffeine consumption or alleviate the consequences of caffeine, there are several options available.

For example, herbal remedies such as chamomile tea, passionflower, and valerian root have been found to have a relaxing effect on the nervous system, potentially mitigating symptoms like anxiety and restlessness that can be brought on by caffeine.

Additionally, lifestyle changes such as stress-reduction through exercise and relaxation techniques, getting enough sleep, and maintaining a nutritious diet can help to counteract the effects of caffeine.

Finally, replacing caffeinated drinks with decaf options or choosing caffeine-free energy sources such as herbal tea or water can also aid in reducing overall caffeine intake.

How to Get Caffeine Out of Your System

drank too much coffee
drank too much coffee

One way to counteract caffeine is to flush it out of your body. If you’re trying to get your shaking hands and throbbing headache under control, knowing how to get rid of caffeine can help you out. Try one or a combination of these methods for quick relief:

Stop Consuming Caffeine:

And we mean all kinds of caffeine. This includes things like green tea, chocolate, chocolate-covered coffee beans, soda, energy drinks, and even certain desserts or ice creams. 

This might seem like a no-brainer but you might feel like snacking to feel better, introducing more caffeine into your system.

Stay Hydrated:

Drinking lots and lots of water will help you feel better as you wait for the caffeine to leave your body. It can even help speed up the process slightly while counteracting the diuretic effects of caffeine. So, if you feel like you’ve drunk too much coffee, drink a few glasses of water.

Eat Fiber-Rich Food:

There is some evidence that consuming foods with lots of fiber will absorb some of the caffeine in your system. Others suggest that it will slow down the release of caffeine. 

Either way, grabbing a piece of fruit will help you wait out the caffeine wave. You can also consume lentils, starchy vegetables, whole-grain baked goods, and even snack on nuts and seeds.

Wait It Out:

Sometimes, the best thing you can do is just ride out the effects. A caffeine overdose is a bit like a hangover; you just have to wait for it to go away. This can last anywhere from 4 to 6 hours, but this will depend on the strength and amount of coffee consumed, your weight, and overall caffeine tolerance.

If you are caffeine sensitive, this can take even longer. So bear down, grit your teeth and just wait for the caffeine to leave your body by itself. In the meantime, stay hydrated, get your blood pumping, and try to relax with some deep breathing exercises and meditation.

Having a light, but healthy meal will also slow down or decrease the effects of caffeine. Best of all, get some exercise to use up that jittery, nervous energy that comes with a caffeine overdose.

The Long-term Impact of Caffeine on the Body

Caffeine, a stimulant that affects the central nervous system, increases attentiveness and energy. However, excessive caffeine use may have a number of detrimental consequences on the body, including increased heart rate/blood pressure, anxiety, sleep disturbance, and an increased risk of osteoporosis. It may also cause dependence and withdrawal symptoms in rare cases.

It is important to recognise that caffeine’s effects vary from person to person and may be influenced by factors such as body weight, tolerance, and heredity.

Recommended Daily Intake of Caffeine

Age/GroupRecommended Daily LimitEquivalent to
Adults400 mg4 cups of coffee
Pregnant Women200 mg2 cups of coffee
Children (4-6 years old)100 mg1 cup of coffee
Children (7-9 years old)2.5 mg/kg body weightDepends on weight

The recommended daily caffeine consumption varies depending on individual parameters such as age, weight, and general health.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the usual safe limit for most individuals is 400 mg, which is similar to 4 cups of coffee. Caffeine use should be limited to 200 mg per day for pregnant women owing to correlations with increased miscarriage risk and other harmful consequences.

The suggested limit for children and teens is significantly lower, with a ceiling of 100 mg for 4 to 6-year-olds and 2.5 mg/kg of body weight for 7 to 9-year-olds.

Got More Questions?

Below you’ll find answers to questions we get asked the most about counteracting caffeine.

01. How Long Does the Effects of Caffeine Last? 

The effects of caffeine last for 4-6 hours after the compound is absorbed into the bloodstream.

02. How Can I Counteract Caffeine to Sleep?

Drinking plenty of water, having a filling meal, exercise, and meditation can all help minimize the effects of caffeine. Deep breathing techniques, meditating, and yoga can help you sleep after a caffeine overdose.

03. What Foods Counteract Caffeine?

Food with high water content (like watermelon or cucumbers) helps reduce the effects of caffeine. Fiber-rich foods, such as apples, celery, and whole grains also help. You can also quell coffee-induced headaches with things with a high potassium content, like bananas.

04. How Can I Cure Caffeine Sensitivity?

This can be dealt with by consuming lower levels of caffeine. Swap out your coffee for things like green or white tea. Herbal teas will also energize you without all the caffeine. You can also eliminate coffee from your diet entirely.

05. What are the Symptoms of a Caffeine Overdose?

According to medical professionals, the common symptoms of too much caffeine include things like:

  • nervousness or jitters
  • headache
  • shaking hands
  • dizziness
  • irritability
  • diarrhea or an upset stomach
  • irregular heartbeat or heart palpitations

In a Nutshell

Overdoing the coffee can spell disaster, and have you feeling worse than the exhaustion of little sleep. It can be difficult to focus at work or school with a pounding heart and shaking hands. Knowing how to counteract caffeine in advance means that you will be prepared to counteract the effects.

So the next you realize your fourth cold brew will cause you misery in 30 minutes, fill up your water bottle, get something to eat, and put on your running shoes. It’ll be a tough couple of hours, but these tips will help you face the worst of it. 

The good news? In around 5 hours you’ll start to feel like yourself again.

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