Having trouble hitting the hay and staying there? If you’re a coffee connoisseur, a tea enthusiast, or devotee of energy drinks, is it possible that your caffeine habit is to blame?

It *IS* possible, but caffeine isn’t all bad: it can actually have some unexpected health benefits. When it comes to caffeine, it’s important we know when to stop and recognize the signs that you need to cut back. Get ready, because we’re spilling the beans on caffeine!

 

You probably already know this, but our society is pretty reliant on caffeine. 80% of the world’s population consumes a caffeinated product each day, and it jumps to 90% for adults in North America. According to scientists at the FDA, caffeine can be part of a healthy diet for most people. Some research shows it can even help you reach your health and fitness goals!


Coffee in particular may be beneficial on its own – according to data from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey, women who drink two to three cups of coffee a day (decaf or fully caffeinated) are likely to have lower total body fat than those who don't.


But caffeine itself can be beneficial, too. We’re all familiar with the boost in alertness and mood. What you might not know is that because it stimulates the central nervous system, caffeine may increase your metabolism and the amount of fat your body burns.


Unfortunately, caffeine comes with its risks—too much caffeine may pose a danger to your health.


Over-consuming caffeine can cause:

  • Insomnia
  • “Jitters”
  • Anxiousness
  • Fast heart rate
  • Nausea
  • Headaches

 

So, if light-to-moderate caffeine intake may provide health benefits, how much caffeine is too much? According to the Mayo Clinic, up to 400 mg of caffeine per day is safe for most adults—that’s about 4 cups of coffee or two energy drinks a day.

 

If any of these describe you, it might be time to cut down:

 

You drink more than 4 cups of coffee a day

A study published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that drinking six or more cups of coffee per day may increase your risk of heart disease by up to 22%. Make sure to listen to your body—four cups a day is already a lot of caffeine, and your body will become dependent, meaning you may experience withdrawal symptoms if you miss your daily coffee.

 

Even a little makes you jittery

Some people are very sensitive to caffeine. If it doesn’t make your body feel good, it might be best to cut it out completely.

 

You’re having trouble sleeping

If you’re not getting good sleep, you may find yourself reaching for extra coffee to make up the difference—but the caffeine might be what’s keeping you from quality sleep! Watch your caffeine intake and make sure you’re not consuming too much or enjoying it too late in the day. If caffeine is affecting your sleep, make sure to pump the brakes by 2 p.m.