What to Know About Craving Coffee

Medically Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on October 25, 2021
3 min read

If you feel like you can’t get out of bed without your morning cup of coffee, you’re not alone. Roughly 62% of Americans drink coffee on a daily basis. In fact, 3 to 5 cups of coffee a day are considered “moderate” coffee consumption.

If you’re a coffee drinker, missing your daily hit of caffeine can cause you to crave coffee.

In some ways, people drink coffee because it's seen as normal. It may be what your parents did or what your friends do. Drinking coffee can even be a social experience and something to bond over. The media can make drinking coffee seem even more normal. TV shows can make coffee drinking seem like an important part of daily life, with regular interactions taking place in and around coffee shops.

There are reasons for drinking coffee beyond just habit. Coffee contains caffeine, which can help you wake up and feel awake throughout the day. Roughly one in three Americans don’t get as much sleep as they need. It’s no surprise that some people reach for caffeine to get them through the day.

Drinking coffee daily isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Studies show that it may offer some protection against potentially life-threatening conditions like Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes, liver disease, heart attack, and stroke.

Coffee is also rich in magnesium and Vitamin B12. Some studies suggest that drinking four cups of coffee each day can even help you lose weight.

The caffeine found in coffee can have several side effects, including:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heartburn
  • Anxiety
  • Trouble Sleeping
  • Depression

Caffeine can also affect how some medicines work. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid having too much caffeine, as well.

If you’ve decided to give up coffee, there are a few ways to do it safely.

Slowly cut back. Your best bet for limiting caffeine withdrawal is to drink a little less coffee bit by bit instead of going cold-turkey. This may mean cutting your coffee back by 1 cup each day instead of stopping completely.

Drinking coffee gives you more dopamine in your system. Dopamine is a hormone that makes your body feel good. Over time, if you drink a lot of caffeine, your body can get used to having that extra level of dopamine. When you quit drinking coffee, your body wants that dopamine hit and sends signals to your body. This is what brings coffee cravings.

Some studies suggest that quitting coffee too suddenly can make symptoms of depression worse.

Other symptoms associated with caffeine withdrawal include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Muscle Pain
  • Irritability
  • Tiredness
  • Trouble Concentrating

These symptoms can be pretty severe. Many people report not wanting to deal with withdrawal as one of the main reasons they don’t quit drinking coffee.

‌Switch to decaf. You can also try switching to decaffeinated coffee for some of your drinks. This can trick your mind into thinking you’re still getting your normal amount of coffee and may help you have fewer cravings.