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A. If you're having trouble sleeping or experiencing an upset stomach (acidity, indigestion), headaches, shakiness or palpitations (coffee 'jitters'), then excess caffeine could well be the reason.
Most of us can handle around 300mg of caffeine a day without problems. This translates to:
- 4 or 5 cups of instant coffee OR
- 3 shots of espresso (one latte, one short black or one cappuccino all start with a shot) OR
- 3 or 4 energy drinks (eg Red Bull, V).
Consume more than this and you're heading for 'hyper' territory.
Three tips to cut down on caffeine:
1. Cut down on the number of coffees you drink but do it gradually - one cup less each day.
2. Don't go 'cold turkey' as you'll trigger the caffeine withdrawal syndrome - throbbing headaches, tiredness, yawning and lethargy which lasts for a couple of days but is bad enough to send you screaming back to caffeine.
3. Aim to have your last coffee by 3pm so the caffeine can work itself through your system before bedtime. Instead of coffee you can:
» switch to decaf
» switch to regular or green tea, which has one-half to one-third the caffeine.
» try a herbal infusion like lemon and ginger or chamomile, especially after dinner when you're looking for a good night's sleep.