four friends cheering their coffee mugs in a cafe

Caffeine has its perks, but in high doses it can start to cause issues. According to the Mayo Clinic, up to 400 mg of caffeine a day is safe for most healthy adults. That’s roughly equivalent to four cups of home-brewed coffee or two energy shots.

If you drink a bit too much caffeine, you may begin to experience negative side effects like:

  • Headaches or migraines
  • Insomnia
  • Jitters or muscle spasms
  • Irritability or anxiety

  • Frequent urination
  • Fast heart beat or palpitations
  • Nausea or stomach discomfort

Whether you’re experiencing negative side effects or simply want to reduce your intake, here are some tips to help you curb your caffeine consumption.


Know your intake

Not all coffee is created equal. In fact, drip coffee has more caffeine than your typical espresso shot. This can make it challenging to know how much caffeine you’re actually consuming. Follow this quick reference guide to track your caffeine intake:

  • Starbucks drip coffee (16 oz.) = 330 mg
  • Starbucks Latte (16 oz.) = 150 mg
  • Starbucks Decaf (16 oz.) = 25 mg
  • Red Bull (12 oz.) = 80 mg
  • Red Bull special edition (12 oz.) = 114 mg
  • Dunkin’ Donuts coffee (14 oz.) = 210 mg
  • Maxwell House Regular (12 oz.) = 170 mg
  • Lipton tea (8 oz.) = 55 mg

More detailed caffeine contents are available through CaffeineInformer.


Take it slow

Cutting out caffeine cold turkey can actually make your caffeine cravings worse. Instead, try cutting back gradually. For instance, try having one less cup of coffee per day or try an option that has less caffeine in it.


Opt for a decaf

Do you crave the caffeine or the taste of coffee? Try switching out your regular coffee for a decaf version of the same drink, especially if it’s later in the day. Take note of any differences you may (or may not) feel. If you’re drinking more for the enjoyment or taste it may be easier than you think to swap for a decaf option.


Find other sources of energy

If you lower your caffeine but still need energy, give these a try to boost your energy without the jitters:

  • Snack smart. Carb-heavy snacks can leave us feeling drowsy. Instead, try to pair carbohydrates with fats or protein.
  • Get physical. Physical activity can help you feel more alert and awake, especially if you experience dips in your energy levels throughout the day. Take a quick walk or visit the Rec Center to get your blood moving.
  • Take a power nap. Napping for 15 to 30 minutes has been shown to improve mood and alertness during the day.
  • Get a good night’s sleep. Try to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Set yourself up for success by creating a bedtime routine and avoiding screens later in the evening when possible.