How do you avoid a coffee overdose?

Coffee overdose

You know. You're sitting at your computer, the day is almost over and your colleague is having another round of coffee. Doubt sets in, "I've already had four cups of coffee today, I won't sleep anymore." Or “If I drink coffee this late, sleeping will become a real problem.

In addition to difficulty falling asleep, a coffee overdose has even more adverse effects on your health. It can make you shaky or even get palpitations.

But how do you prevent a coffee overdose? In this article I am going to tell you all about the effects of coffee, how likely a caffeine overdose is, what the symptoms are, what the guidelines are for coffee consumption.

I'll help you make sure you don't overdose on coffee

How likely is a caffeine overdose

It's pretty easy to get just a little more caffeine than your body actually likes. You know it, just that extra pure-over or espresso, because it's so tasty. Anyway, I struggle with this every day.

You become a bit more restless, maybe a little shaky and you don't get to sleep at night. Very annoying, but fortunately not life-threatening. Caffeine does everything in your body , but a dangerous or life-threatening coffee overdose fortunately does not happen that often.

Good thing, too!

There are some known cases where people have died from a caffeine overdose, but in all cases this involved taking caffeine pills. [ 1 ] Caffeine pills contain a very high dose of caffeine that can also affect the body.

If more than 15 milligrams of caffeine per liter of blood flows through your body, you will notice this. At 100 milligrams per liter, this can be fatal. But luckily you don't achieve this so quickly with coffee.

You will find about 40 to 60 milligrams of caffeine in a cup of coffee. According to the blood bank, Sanquin , an adult person has about five to six liters of blood flowing through their body. A quick calculation shows that per cup of coffee you consume approximately 7.2 milligrams of caffeine per liter of blood.

That's almost 14 large cups of coffee. I know there are people who make this every day! But it's not good for you. What we shouldn't forget here is that caffeine also works out and you've already had the peak of the caffeine after 30 to 60 minutes.

So you have to drink those 14 cups of coffee in the same hour! Hmmm.. I don't want to challenge anyone, but I don't think anyone really likes that! Unless it's 14 cups of Decaf ;-)

Symptoms of a caffeine overdose

When you have too much caffeine in your body, you really feel it. According to People and Health, too much caffeine can cause the following symptoms:

  • faster heart rate
  • dehydration
  • be more alert
  • feeling restless, anxious or irritable
  • elevated body temperature
  • irritable, restless or anxious
  • headache
  • faster breathing

If you experience the following symptoms, a coffee overdose may be lurking:

  • very fast or irregular heartbeat
  • feeling shaky or weak
  • feeling sick or vomiting
  • confusion
  • Panic Attack

Risk factors

The caffeine you get from drinking coffee, if you don't drink coffee excessively, isn't that bad. But of course there are conditions, or situations in which caffeine can have a reinforcing or conflicting effect and the risk of a coffee overdose increases.


When you combine alcohol and caffeine, this can have harmful effects. For example, alcohol is a depressant that slows down brain functions. You know, that 'mellow' feeling when you've had a few wines.

Caffeine, on the other hand, makes you more alert. This can mask the slowing effect of alcohol, putting you at risk of drinking too much alcohol simply because you have weakened the effect.

Think twice the next time you sip your e espresso Martini ;-)

Pregnant women

Pregnant women are advised not to drink too much coffee. Or other drinks that contain caffeine of course.

Unborn children are unable to break down caffeine in time. An excessive amount of caffeine can harm an unborn child, so drink coffee in moderation during your pregnancy.

Are you breastfeeding? A little coffee really can't hurt, as long as you don't let yourself be tempted by those 14 cups a day!

People with underlying health conditions

Much research has been done on the effect of caffeine on health. We have also written an extensive article about whether coffee is good for your health.

Although there are currently no clear links between drinking coffee and its impact on the heart. Can people who are hypersensitive to caffeine really get palpitations.

Whether this is really dangerous, we do not know, but it is certainly reason to know your size in case of hypersensitivity.

Caffeine consumption guidelines

In order to provide a good guideline for caffeine consumption, we have divided these into guidelines for adults, for pregnant women, for breastfeeding and the caffeine guideline for children.

The table below shows the approximate amount of caffeine you consume per drink. How much are you on daily? And do you fall within the norm?



45mg 60mg


Black tea

22mg 30mg 60mg
Green tea 15mg 20mg 45mg
Coke 11mg 20mg 25mg
energy drink 22mg 80mg


Caffeine guidelines for adults

According to the Nutrition Center, it is advised for adults to consume a maximum of 400 mg of caffeine per day and no more than 200 mg at one time.

Looking at the table above, this means that as an adult you can drink a maximum of 5 cups of coffee. Please note that this is a cup of 125 ml. It also differs per type of coffee and the brewing method.

Do you want to be sure. Then use this handy caffeine calculator.

Caffeine guidelines for pregnant and breastfeeding women

Women who are pregnant should drink a maximum of 200 mg of caffeine per day. This is because an unborn baby is unable to break down the caffeine that he/she receives through the umbilical cord in time.

2 cups of coffee per day is therefore the maximum recommended consumption for a pregnant woman.

Caffeine guidelines for children

For children, the Nutrition Center recommends not to consume more than 3 mg of caffeine per kilogram of body weight.

So depending on the weight of the weekend, which often goes hand in hand with age, you could see how many cups of coffee a child can drink, for example.

If you look at the above table, children may only drink a maximum of 1 cup of coffee per day from the age of 9. Fortunately, most children do not like coffee at all.


By enjoying your coffee daily you will not get a coffee overdose so quickly. However, you can quickly notice certain symptoms of the caffeine steaming through your bloodstream. Fortunately, these symptoms are not directly harmful.

Be careful when you combine caffeine with alcohol. These resources have contradictory effects, which can sometimes pose a risk. There are also other guidelines when it comes to caffeine use for pregnant women and children.

Are you in doubt? Check out the table above and easily see how much caffeine is in some drinks. This way you can quickly calculate how much caffeine you consume and whether your consumption poses a risk for a coffee overdose.