If you have ever felt light-headed or dizzy after drinking coffee, you are not alone. Caffeine can cause various symptoms, including dizziness, nausea, and headaches. For some coffee lovers, this might occur after every cup of coffee, depending on their sensitivity. This post provides tips on how to get rid of dizziness after drinking coffee.
Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to help reduce the effects of caffeine. It is important to know the potential side effects of drinking too much caffeine and what you can do to avoid them. By following these tips, you should be able to enjoy your coffee without the unpleasant side effects.
Why does drinking coffee make me dizzy?
If you have ever felt dizzy after drinking a cup of coffee, you might feel disoriented and wonder what is causing the sensation. There are a few possible explanations, and understanding the causes can help you prevent or reduce this feeling.
To minimize the effects of your caffeine buzz, you should focus on drinking coffee in moderation, staying hydrated, and avoiding it on an empty stomach. These will help to reduce the chances of feeling dizzy afterward.
There are a few explanations for why you might feel dizzy after drinking coffee, including low blood sugar, dehydration, too much coffee, or even caffeine sensitivity. If you are feeling light-headed, thinking about your coffee consumption and general activity for the day can usually help you pinpoint what caused it.
Many of us rely on a cup of coffee or caffeine to get through the day, but not everyone knows how caffeine affects us. Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant that is so widely available that the U.S. FDA estimates that about 80% of U.S. adults consume some caffeine daily.
Because of this, the caffeine in your coffee may make you dizzy from too much caffeine, reducing your blood flow, causing withdrawal symptoms, or even caffeine intolerance.
When caffeine is consumed, it is absorbed into the bloodstream and travels up to the brain. Here, it binds to the adenosine receptors, which blocks the action of adenosine, the neurotransmitter responsible for the sleep/wake cycle (1). This is how caffeine prevents sleepiness and increases your overall alertness.
The effects of caffeine can be felt within minutes and can last for several hours by most consumers. Others metabolize caffeine slower, which could lead to more prolonged side effects, usually a sign of caffeine intolerance or sensitivity.
Caffeine consumption is not always bad; a strong cup can give you a quick energy boost. And many studies link health benefits to moderate caffeine consumption, like a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s or dementia, etc. However, overindulging can cause negative side effects, like anxiety, panic attacks, or headaches.
According to the FDA, the recommended caffeine intake for healthy adults is no more than 400mg of caffeine per day (about 4 cups of coffee). Drinking a few cups of coffee daily is generally safe but can eventually build up a caffeine tolerance for some.
If someone is too reliant on coffee, they might experience caffeine withdrawal symptoms, like headaches, drowsiness, insomnia, etc., if they consume regularly and suddenly stop.
Common Caffeine Side Effects
- Upset stomach or nausea
- Headaches or migraines
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Low mood
- Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
- Increased heart rate or high blood pressure
- Restlessness or anxiousness
Too much caffeine can affect everyone differently, but most will experience these symptoms and side effects. Even after consuming a few sips, people with caffeine sensitivity can experience side effects. With sensitivity or intolerance, caffeine remains in the body for a more extended amount of time as well.
If you find that a drink of coffee is enough to make you dizzy every time, you might have caffeine sensitivity or intolerance. However, there is a chance it could be from something else.
Blood Sugar Levels
Did you eat today? For some coffee lovers, drinking coffee might affect your blood sugar levels, especially if you have not eaten beforehand. It can also cause a buildup of acid in the stomach, which can cause acid reflux or damage your stomach lining (2).
According to WebMD, people with type 2 diabetes may react differently to caffeine by raising blood sugar and insulin levels, making them feel light-headed or dizzy. For others, consuming coffee without eating beforehand might make you light-headed because you have not eaten anything to regulate your blood sugar levels.
How much water have you had today? Coffee may have a mild diuretic effect, but it is usually not the main reason someone is dehydrated. Whether or not you have had enough water is the leading cause of dehydration and its effects.
Dehydration can cause dizziness, fatigue, headaches, dry mouth, etc. It can also cause your blood vessels to constrict, which leads to a drop in blood pressure and then a feeling of dizziness.
How to stop feeling dizzy after drinking coffee
Caffeine can last several hours in your system, with side effects reaching peak levels within 30 to 60 minutes. When you feel dizzy or light-headed from drinking coffee, you can only focus on treating the symptoms while waiting for the caffeine to flush out of your system. If you are experiencing dizziness after consuming coffee, there are a few steps you can take to help alleviate this symptom and others.
Avoid additional coffee consumption
This may seem a bit obvious, but if you feel dizzy, you should stop drinking coffee or caffeine for a few hours. If you continue to drink more coffee, it will prolong the dizziness and other symptoms you might be experiencing. This includes decaf coffee, which also includes trace amounts of caffeine.
Increase your water intake
Drink a glass of water or other hydrating beverages (e.g., herbal teas) to rehydrate. Dehydration can contribute to dizziness, so it’s important to stay hydrated. Making sure you are drinking plenty of water can relieve some of the adverse side effects of excessive caffeine and help your metabolism.
Eating a healthy snack or a light meal can help stabilize your blood sugars, reducing your lightheadedness. This is especially important if breakfast was skipped or it has been a bit since you last ate.
Take a Break
Take a few deep breaths to increase the oxygen flow to your brain. If you are feeling dizzy after consuming caffeine, taking a break and sitting or lying down for a few minutes may be helpful. You could even take a nap to allow your body a chance to relax and recover. All of these can help to alleviate dizziness and reduce any feelings of nausea that may be associated with it.
Drink ginger tea or take over-the-counter relief
Ginger is effective in reducing dizziness and nausea. You can try drinking a cup of ginger tea or taking a ginger supplement to help alleviate these symptoms. You could also take over-the-counter medications, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, to reduce some of the symptoms.
Get some fresh air
If you are feeling up for it, taking a short walk around the block or engaging in light physical activity can help to clear your head. Caffeine slows vitamin D absorption, so going outside in direct sunlight for a bit will increase your vitamin D intake and might help clear your head a bit.
If your dizziness persists, you should seek medical attention. Your doctor can help you determine the underlying cause and recommend the best treatment to relieve your symptoms.
How to prevent dizziness when you drink coffee
You might not necessarily want to give up the energy-boosting effect of your morning cup of coffee, but frequently dealing with the feeling of lightheadedness can be limiting. Fortunately, you can take a few steps to reduce the likelihood of coffee making you feel tired or dizzy.
This includes limiting the amount of caffeine you consume, drinking plenty of water, and eating before or after you drink coffee. Also, avoiding adding too much sugar or sweeteners to your coffee can help.
Limit Your Caffeine Intake
If you are prone to dizziness after drinking coffee, it may be helpful to limit your intake. 400mg of caffeine per day is the recommended amount for healthy adults – paying attention to the caffeine content of your Starbucks coffee, energy drinks, etc., so you stay at or below this amount can help to prevent dizziness from occurring in the first place.
You should also pay attention to how much caffeine is in your coffee beans. There is more caffeine in lighter versus darker roasts and brewed coffee versus instant coffee. Not limiting your coffee intake could increase caffeine sensitivity over time.
Most decaf coffees still have caffeine, although less caffeine than regular coffee. If you choose to drink more coffee and want to watch your caffeine intake, you could try to drink decaf coffees that say Swiss Water decaf, a method that creates flavorful coffee beans with virtually no caffeine present.
Drink plenty of water
Dehydration can contribute to dizziness, so it is important to stay hydrated. Drinking water can help to prevent dizziness by restoring the body’s electrolyte balance. It can also help replenish fluids due to the diuretic effect of coffee. If coffee makes you feel dizzy, drink a glass of water before your second cup of coffee.
Avoid Coffee on an Empty Stomach
Consuming coffee can increase your heart rate and blood pressure, which can help you feel light-headed and dizzy. Drinking coffee on an empty stomach can exacerbate dizziness. Eating a meal before or after you drink coffee can help regulate these changes in your body and minimize the effects of caffeine by slowing down its absorption.
Additionally, eating a full meal with healthy carbs and proteins can help to stabilize your blood sugar levels.
Health and Exercise
Ensuring that you get enough sleep and a couple hours of aerobic exercise each week can help you to increase your metabolism, which can help you to metabolize caffeine faster. Aerobic exercise also increases your heart rate and blood circulation, sending more oxygen to your brain and helping to clear away the caffeine.
Regular exercise can also help reduce caffeine tolerance, reducing the amount of dizziness you experience after consuming caffeine.
How to get rid of dizziness after drinking coffee FAQ
Why is coffee making me dizzy all of a sudden?
You can feel the effects of caffeine within minutes of consuming it. If you feel jittery or dizzy, it could be that your blood sugar is low, you are dehydrated, or you have had too much caffeine.
Can you flush caffeine out of your system?
No, once caffeine has entered your system, it is impossible to flush it out quickly. You can attempt to minimize the adverse effects, but you will have to wait for the caffeine to flush out naturally.
Why do I feel low and dizzy after drinking coffee?
If coffee makes you feel low and dizzy, you may be experiencing a caffeine overdose. Caffeine in coffee can cause dehydration and low blood sugar, leading to dizziness and fatigue.
How long does it take to flush caffeine out of your system?
Caffeine’s half-life is up to 5 hours, with the side effects reaching peak levels within 30 to 60 minutes. The remaining caffeine can stay in your body a lot longer than that.
Coffee can cause dizziness for various reasons, including dehydration, low blood sugar, and caffeine intolerance. Once you understand the causes of your coffee-related dizziness, you can take steps to reduce or prevent the feeling.
Overall, by drinking coffee in moderation, staying hydrated, and avoiding it on an empty stomach, you can reduce the chances of feeling dizzy after drinking coffee. However, if your dizziness persists or is severe, you must consult your doctor or a healthcare professional for further evaluation and treatment.