The Buzz About Caffeine
Some days you just need that extra cup of coffee to help you stay awake and energized. Too much caffeine, however, can leave you wide awake later that night. Besides insomnia, too much caffeine can lead to other health problems, like upset stomachs and restlessness.
“A healthy intake of caffeine ranges from two to four cups of brewed coffee a day or just less than a can of soda, about 200 to 300 milligrams,” explains Ivan Rusilko, DO, an osteopathic physician from Miami. “People who don’t drink caffeine often may experience a larger effect when they do indulge.”
People need to watch the amount of caffeine not only in beverages but also in foods, such as chocolate. “You may be surprised to find some of your favorite foods contain various amounts of caffeine in it,” Dr. Rusilko adds.
Dr. Rusilko offers tips on how to safely consume caffeine:
- Use caffeine only certain times of the day. “Because it takes about five to seven hours for your body to eliminate half of the caffeine you consume, try to avoid drinking large amounts of caffeine eight to 10 hours before sleep to allow your body to eliminate about 75% of the caffeine within it,” suggests Dr. Rusilko.
- Slowly cut back. It is important to do this gradually to experience the least amount of side effects. “Abruptly stopping the intake of caffeine can cause unpleasant symptoms, such as anxiety, fatigue and headaches, for a few days,” Dr. Rusilko notes.