Coffee Facts

Why Does Coffee Make Me Dizzy And Light Headed?


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If you’re anything like me, you cannot wait to wake up and grab your favorite cup of morning java to jump-start your day. Also, if you’re like me, you may take a few sips and wind up asking yourself why the room is spinning.

Daily coffee drinkers have probably experienced a bit of dizziness after drinking a cup of Joe at one time or another.  There are a few reasons why coffee makes me dizzy and lightheaded, and the cause is likely behind your woozy reactions as well.

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Coffee is a stimulant

cup of coffee and beans

A fact we often overlook is that caffeine is a drug,  a stimulant at that. Many of us grab a cup of coffee and treat it like liquid breakfast. Half the time, we are doing this before we put any food in our bellies.

Far too many of us do it, though it’s not a good idea.  The average American coffee drinker downs 3 cups a day, and most do it on an empty stomach within their first hour awake.

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Caffeine consumption on an empty stomach will create stomach lining eroding acid and most certainly cause jitters.

Don’t skip breakfast

I know for a fact that coffee makes me dizzy and lightheaded whenever I skip the bagel and down my coffee to become more alert. This act may be a bit counterintuitive, however.

While coffee is indeed a stimulant, it is an adenosine receptor antagonist—the receptor kind of tricks the brain into being alert. Over time, caffeine intake can create a feeling of drowsiness as your body produces more adenosine in response.

As you begin to build up a resistance to the inhibitor, you’ll need more coffee to feel alert. When this occurs, I, of course, want to drink more coffee. As my intake increases, I may drink it without food, and soon my coffee makes me dizzy and lightheaded once again.

Is the caffeine making you dizzy?

In a word, yes. Like most stimulants, caffeine reduces blood flow to the brain. Ingesting coffee before you eat or in large quantities can result in the giddy, jittery, or woozy side effects often associated with coffee drinking.  

When coffee makes me dizzy or lightheaded nowadays, I try to ask myself why. If I retrace my steps, I can often find the culprit, which helps me reduce incidents of grogginess in the future.

If you find coffee making you jittery far more often than you would like, do what I do and ask yourself the following questions.

Am I drinking too much a day?

The MayoClinic has advised against ingesting large quantities of coffee, stating that up to 400 mg (roughly 4 cups) a day appears safe. Drinking more than this can create a ton of side effects, including a higher incidence of dizziness. The same goes for energy drinks. The effects of caffeine can include insomnia, nervousness, irritability, high blood pressure, and the dreaded shakes that stem from becoming lightheaded.

Did I drink enough water? 

Coffee is not only a stimulant but is a diuretic as well. It causes water and electrolyte loss. Whenever coffee makes me dizzy and lightheaded, I grab a glass of water or water bottle and chug. Increasing my water volume keeps me from becoming dehydrated and eventually reduces my tremors.

Have I eaten breakfast?

A stated previously, food intake is important. Not eating an adequate breakfast before taking that espresso shot could be why your heart is racing, and the room is spinning. I find simply getting a sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit is enough to calm my body down eventually.

Caffeine tolerance is a factor

Now, bear in mind some people can drink buckets of coffee and not be affected, while someone else can barely drink half a cup and immediately feel the negative effect of caffeine. The trick here is to ask yourself what you can handle.

Once you discover your tolerance level, try your best not to overdo it. Keeping a watchful eye on the amounts of caffeine you intake can help you enjoy an occasional cup without being thrown off balance.

When I began to look at how and when I indulge, I never had to ask why coffee makes me dizzy and lightheaded. I could look at my habits and self-correct.

As they say, knowledge is power, and knowing what I can do to make sure I can keep on enjoying my morning cup, has enabled me to continue starting my day with a spring in my step!

Happy Caffeinating!

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