How to Combat Caffeine Headaches
Table of Contents
Caffeine is a drug that has been around for thousands of years, but it takes only 15 minutes to cause you to feel the jittery side effects. You can either fight back or prevent those intense headaches with these tips.
No matter where it comes from, caffeine may be a headache trigger or a headache reliever. On the other hand, caffeine withdrawal headaches occur when someone who is caffeine dependent (e.g., one or more cups of coffee or tea per day) chooses to stop drinking caffeine.
If you take a lot of caffeine daily, you’re more likely to have caffeine headaches and other withdrawal symptoms.
Coffee is the caffeinated beverage that causes the majority of caffeine headaches, which is understandable given that it is one of the most widely consumed liquids in the world, second only to water and tea. However, quitting energy drinks, soda, or other caffeine-containing drugs might cause headaches.
Headaches from Caffeine Withdrawal
Coffee withdrawal (also known as “caffeine rebound”) is a good indicator if you have a headache after missing caffeine, but your symptoms start to diminish after consuming some caffeine. Caffeine withdrawal symptoms usually appear 12 to 24 hours after you stop using it.
The following are some of the most typical caffeine withdrawal symptoms:
- aches and pains (usually felt behind the eyes and in the front of the head)
- Fatigue, sluggishness, and drowsiness
- Concentration issues
- Fog in the head
- Low desire to concentrate
- Irritability, anxiousness, and irritability
- Cramping and stiffness
- Dizziness, clumsiness, and a lack of coordination
Body’s Reaction to Caffeine Withdrawl
Caffeine has a lot of effects on the way your brain and body perform. Caffeine is a psychoactive substance that belongs to the methylxanthine family of stimulants. It impacts the central nervous system (CNS) and has various additional effects, including raising heart rate, changing blood flow, improving alertness, and reducing weariness.
Caffeine’s “vasoconstrictive” qualities are one reason why stopping caffeine produces headaches. Caffeine constricts the blood vessels that surround your brain, but when you stop taking it, the blood vessels widen again, causing discomfort while your body adjusts.
Caffeine deprivation also causes alterations in some brain wave patterns connected to weariness. It also permits a substance known as adenosine to build up in the body. Adenosine is a molecule that plays a role in energy metabolism and makes you tired.
“Caffeine is commonly identified as a headache trigger,” according to the American Migraine Foundation, “yet for some persons with migraines, a cup of coffee may bring some relief in the middle of an attack.” Caffeine is a primary active component in several popular over-the-counter headache medicines.
Caffeine may momentarily relieve headache discomfort in some individuals, but it does not address the underlying causes of headaches, making it an ineffective long-term therapy.
Caffeine-containing medications may lead to dependency, which means you’ll need more to get the same relief over time.
Caffeine Headaches: How Long Do They Last?
According to Caffeine Informer’s research, caffeine headaches linger anywhere from a few days to two weeks for most people.
However, for people who drink a lot of caffeine regularly — 1,000 mg or more per day — effects may last up to two months.
How Much is Too Much Caffeine?
Caffeine has different effects on different people. Some individuals can consume one or more sources of caffeine on occasion and then avoid it on other days without developing headaches. Others are more sensitive to the symptoms of withdrawal than others. Even if you just used coffee for a few days in a row, you might still suffer unfavorable effects while stopping.
If you know you get headaches easily and regularly, doctors suggest avoiding caffeine altogether or limiting your caffeine consumption to one or two cups per day.
This is around 200 milligrams of caffeine or about 2 regular-size cups of coffee.
When it comes to coffee drinking, most studies recommend that individuals should limit themselves to 3 to 4 cups per day. This quantity of caffeine is considered “moderate” and gives roughly 300 to 400 mg per day. Other studies imply that drinking more coffee, up to 5 or 6 cups per day, is OK as long as it doesn’t impair quality of life.
According to the National Headache Foundation, the following are the most prevalent sources of caffeine that might lead to withdrawal symptoms:
- Caffeine content varies based on the kind and brand of coffee. For example, a large McDonald’s coffee has between 100 to 200 milligrams of caffeine, whereas a Starbucks venti has about 415 mg. Weaker brews, instant coffee, and espresso typically offer 50 to 160 mg of caffeine per small cup.
- 100 milligrams in 16-ounces of ice tea
- 45 milligrams in 12 ounces of Coke, Pepsi, or Dr. Pepper (or Diet Varieties)
- 12 ounces, 55 milligrams Mountain Dew Soda
- 422 milligrams for a 10-hour energy shot
- 200 milligrams of energy for 5 hours
- 160 mg in most commercial energy drinks
- The average latte has 150 mg of caffeine.
- 55 milligrams Lipton Black Tea
- 25 to 70 mg of matcha green tea
- 90 milligrams in a bottled Frappuccino
- 225 milligrams for iced espresso or cappuccino
- Decaf coffee has 10 to 25 mg of caffeine.
- 47 milligrams of chai tea
- 42 milligrams of black tea
- 25 milligrams of green tea
- 25 milligrams white, jasmine, or oolong tea
- 0 milligrams of herbal tea
Caffeine Headache: How to Get Rid of It
Caffeine withdrawal may be difficult; in fact, research suggests that more than 90% of caffeine addicts struggle to stop owing to negative side effects. That isn’t to say it can’t be done; you simply need to be patient and understand that your body will need time to adapt.
Caffeine Cutting Back — or Weaning Off — Tips:
- Don’t attempt to stop “cold turkey” since this might lead to unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Instead, reduce your caffeine consumption gradually, by 25% per week. Then, for the least amount of withdrawal symptoms, try cutting yourself off from coffee over many weeks.
- To avoid dehydration, drink lots of water throughout the day. Aim to drink eight eight-ounce glasses of water each day.
- Caffeine from hidden sources should be avoided. Teas, chocolate, non-cola drinks, and even decaf coffee should all have ingredient labels.
- If pain persists, use a non-caffeinated pain reliever such as ibuprofen (Advil, Midol) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) (Tylenol).
- Apply a drop of peppermint essential oil to the sore spot on your head.
- Get a good night’s sleep and lots of rest. Try to get an additional hour of sleep every night while your body adapts.
- Eat a nutrient-dense diet, avoiding processed carbohydrates and too much sugar, to keep your energy levels up.
- Get your feet moving. Exercising is a healthy approach to increase your energy and improve your attitude.
- Consider consuming CBD oil or using a topical CBD balm to help you cope with pain.
One of the greatest ways to minimize caffeine headaches is to reduce your reliance on high-caffeine beverages and sources. Instead, consider the following options:
- Herbal teas are your best choice if you want to avoid caffeine completely. Teas such as peppermint, dandelion, and decaf chai are excellent choices. Herbal teas can have other advantages, such as aiding digestion and promoting relaxation.
- Grain/herbal coffee substitutes — Because they’re supposed to be better tolerated by caffeine-sensitive persons, roasted grain drinks are often created using components other than coffee beans. What are the common elements in popular coffee substitutes? Chicory, barley, rye, cocoa, wheat, molasses, and other syrups/sugars are among them. For those who want to forgo caffeine completely, toasted grain drinks are a wonderful choice. They have a coffee-like flavor and are low in sugar. Chicory root, for example, is high in fiber and has a smooth, creamy mouthfeel.
- Adaptogen herbal teas — These teas include herbs like ashwagandha, which help balance stress hormones like cortisol. They may also help the thyroid and adrenal glands work better, resulting in reduced exhaustion and burnout.
- Hot cocoa/chocolate – Cocoa is strong in antioxidants and has low caffeine content, making it ideal for individuals who can handle a modest quantity of caffeine or weaning off of it.
- Mushroom teas – Similar to adaptogens, medicinal mushrooms such as reishi, lion’s mane, and cordyceps may help you deal with stress. Is there a bonus? They may help you think more clearly by reducing inflammation.
- Yerba mate – Like black tea, this variety of tea is low in caffeine. As a result, it’s popular with those who want to boost their attention and focus but don’t want to ingest too much caffeine.
- Matcha green tea – If you don’t mind a little caffeine, matcha is a terrific option since it’s nutrient-dense and rich in antioxidants that may help protect your brain. It has roughly a third of the caffeine content of coffee.
- White tea, rooibos tea, and oolong tea – These teas contain roughly a third of the caffeine found in coffee and provide antioxidant benefits.
- Can caffeine give you a headache? It very definitely can, according to a slew of research and anecdotal data. Caffeine withdrawal symptoms usually appear 12 to 24 hours after you stop using it.
- Here’s a quick rundown of the caffeine-headache connection: Caffeine deprivation increases blood flow to the brain, which causes pain, while alterations in brain function cause weariness and irritability.
- When it comes to caffeine headaches, how long do they last? It may take anything from a few days to many weeks to totally disappear. The longer it takes to recover from withdrawal symptoms, the more addicted you are (sometimes up to one to two months).
- Wean yourself carefully over two weeks to minimize headaches and other effects. Stay hydrated, do some exercise, avoid sweets, and get plenty of rest.
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