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Too Much Caffeine & Lightheadedness

author image Christy Bowles
Christy Bowles has 15 years of experience in the field of education, with 10 years working in mental health and wellness. She specializes in the treatment of depression, anxiety and substance abuse, with a focus on alternative treatment modalities. Bowles holds a Master of Education from Harvard University.
Too Much Caffeine & Lightheadedness
Too much caffeine can lead to lightheadedness. Photo Credit Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images

You may drink caffeinated beverages, such as coffee or tea, in the morning because they offer a boost of energy. Caffeine is a stimulant, and when you consume caffeinated foods or drinks, it passes quickly to the brain and stimulates the central nervous system, relieving fatigue or drowsiness, especially upon waking.

Physical Effects of Caffeine

As a central nervous stimulant, caffeine has a variety of effects that can be associated with lightheadedness. Caffeine can increase your heart rate, and depending on your cardiovascular health, this could produce a sensation of lightheadedness or dizziness. In addition, caffeine has a diuretic effect, meaning is helps rid the body of excess fluids. In some cases, especially if you do not replace fluids by drinking enough water, this may lead to dehydration and lightheadedness.

Caffeine Intake

Limit your caffeine intake to 200 to 300 mg per day, suggests MayoClinic.com. Have no more than two or three 8 oz. coffee drinks or three or four cups of tea a day. Check the caffeine content in sodas and energy drinks so you stay within the 300 mg maximum. In some cases you could drink up to five 12 oz. servings per day. In most cases these guidelines will help you limit the possible negative side effects that may result from heavy caffeine consumption, such as rapid heart rate and lightheadedness.

Caffeine Addiction and Withdrawal

Caffeine is an addictive substance, and you may develop a dependance if you consume coffee or caffeinated beverages regularly. If you decide to cut back on your caffeine intake or cut out caffeine, you may experience side effects such as restlessness, headaches and anxiety. Many of these withdrawal symptoms, especially anxiety, can trigger sensations of lightheadedness.

Expert Insight

To avoid unpleasant side effects produced by caffeine, carefully control your intake of caffeinated substances, advises MayoClinic.com. If you enjoy coffee or tea in the morning, consider alternating between caffeinated and decaffeinated drinks. Drink plenty of water to offset the diuretic effects of caffeinated drinks. If you have been diagnosed with a specific health condition, consult with your doctor about your use of caffeine, especially if you are consuming large quantities or experiencing side effects, such as lightheadedness.

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