Why Do I Get the Shakes After Drinking Coffee? Understanding the Caffeine Jitters

I have always been a coffee lover. There’s something about that rich aroma and bold flavor that I just can’t resist. However, there is something else that comes along with my beloved cup of Joe – the shakes. Many people may have experienced this phenomenon before, but have you ever wondered why we get the shakes after drinking coffee? It turns out, there is a scientific explanation behind this jittery sensation, and it all comes down to a little chemical called caffeine.

The Science Behind the Shakes

What is Caffeine?

Caffeine is a natural stimulant found in coffee beans, tea leaves, and even chocolate. When we consume caffeine, it acts as a central nervous system stimulant, increasing our alertness and temporarily warding off drowsiness. It does this by blocking the action of a neurotransmitter called adenosine, which promotes sleep and relaxation. With adenosine out of the picture, other neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine can increase, leading to a boost in energy.

The Caffeine Jitters

So, where do the shakes come into play? Well, when we consume too much caffeine, our body reacts to the overstimulation. The jitters, or tremors, occur as a result of increased muscle activity. Caffeine increases the release of adrenaline, a hormone responsible for the body’s fight-or-flight response. As a result, our muscles become more tense and ready for action, leading to the shakes.

Individual Sensitivity

It’s important to note that some individuals may be more sensitive to caffeine than others. Factors such as age, weight, and overall health can affect how our bodies metabolize caffeine. If you find yourself experiencing the shakes after just one cup of coffee, you may be more sensitive to the effects of caffeine. It’s always a good idea to monitor your caffeine intake and listen to your body’s signals.

Hypoglycemia and the Shakes

In some cases, the shakes after drinking coffee may be related to something other than caffeine sensitivity – hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, can occur when our body’s glucose levels drop too low. Coffee is known to temporarily suppress our appetite, which may lead to skipping meals or not eating enough. When we don’t fuel our bodies properly, our blood sugar levels can drop, resulting in the shakes. To prevent this, it’s essential to maintain a balanced diet and ensure we are consuming enough nutrients throughout the day.

Managing the Caffeine Jitters

Reduce Your Intake

If you find that the caffeine jitters are becoming a regular occurrence in your life, it may be time to reevaluate your coffee consumption. Gradually reducing your caffeine intake can help minimize the shakes. Consider switching to decaffeinated coffee or opting for other beverages altogether, such as herbal teas or fruit-infused water. It’s also beneficial to be mindful of the caffeine content in other products, such as energy drinks or soda.

Stay Hydrated

Dehydration can exacerbate the effects of caffeine, so it’s crucial to stay adequately hydrated. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help balance out any excessive caffeine intake and reduce the likelihood of experiencing the shakes. Additionally, water has a wide range of other health benefits that can contribute to overall well-being.

Listen to Your Body

Ultimately, the best way to manage the caffeine jitters is to listen to your body and find what works for you. Pay attention to how much caffeine you consume and how it affects your energy levels and well-being. If you notice that the shakes are interfering with your daily life, it may be time to make some changes. Everyone’s tolerance is different, so finding your balance is key.

Explore Alternatives

If you find that coffee consistently triggers the shakes, it may be worth exploring alternative beverages that provide a milder effect. Green tea, for example, contains less caffeine than coffee but still offers a subtle energy boost. Additionally, herbal teas such as chamomile or peppermint can provide a calming sensation without the jitters. Experiment with different options to see what works best for you.


In conclusion, the shakes after drinking coffee are a common side effect of consuming too much caffeine. Caffeine acts as a stimulant, increasing our alertness and temporarily boosting energy levels. However, excessive amounts of caffeine can lead to overstimulation, resulting in muscle tremors or shakes. It’s essential to be mindful of our caffeine intake and listen to our body’s signals. If the shakes become bothersome, reducing caffeine intake, staying hydrated, and exploring alternatives can help manage these symptoms. So, the next time you experience the shakes after drinking coffee, you’ll understand the science behind it and how to find a balance that works for you.

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