APR 11, 2017 12:37 PM PDT

Why Skipping Coffee Gives You a Headache

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

It's a habit that's shared by at least 50 percent of Americans: a cup of coffee (or espresso, latte, cappuccino) to start the day. People think nothing of this ordinary routine... except for when they accidentally or purposely skip the caffeine. When this happens, people report symptoms of headache, tiredness, and crankiness by mid-afternoon. Is this a psychological or psychosomatic phenomenon? Or is it really tied to that cup o' joe in the morning?
As it turns out, the headaches and overall shift in mood from skipping the coffee routine are caused by acute caffeine withdrawal. Regular caffeine exposure alters in blood flow and electrical activity in the brain, which combine to make people feel more energized and alert. In the absence of caffeine, the expecting brain dilates the cerebral arteries to increase blood flow to the brain. This biological change is thought to underlie the unforgiving caffeine withdrawal headaches.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
DEC 11, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Cosmic Expansion: Universe Stretches, We don't
DEC 11, 2020
Cosmic Expansion: Universe Stretches, We don't
Physicists believe that we exist in an expanding universe. But what does that mean? Do our habitats, bodies, and atoms & ...
FEB 20, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Mars Perseverance Rover Gets Ready to Find Life on Mars
FEB 20, 2021
Mars Perseverance Rover Gets Ready to Find Life on Mars
NASA scientists have confirmed that their car-sized Perseverance Mars rover is 'healthy' following its arrival o ...
MAR 03, 2021
Plants & Animals
Can Arctic Bearded Seals Compete with Human Noise?
MAR 03, 2021
Can Arctic Bearded Seals Compete with Human Noise?
Vocal communication is a primary key to survival for many species, including the Arctic Ocean's bearded seals. Accor ...
MAR 06, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Astronomers Find Tectonic Activity on Exoplanet
MAR 06, 2021
Astronomers Find Tectonic Activity on Exoplanet
For the first time, researchers from the University of Bern in Switzerland have found evidence of tectonic activity on a ...
APR 21, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Earth-like Planet Discovered Orbiting Red Dwarf Star
APR 21, 2021
Earth-like Planet Discovered Orbiting Red Dwarf Star
Researchers from Spain have discovered an Earth-like planet orbiting the star, GJ-740, a red dwarf star located 36 light ...
JUN 24, 2021
Space & Astronomy
European Space Agency to Launch Satellite Made from Plywood
JUN 24, 2021
European Space Agency to Launch Satellite Made from Plywood
Modern spacecraft are typically made out of carbon fiber composites. Now, however, the European Space Agency has announc ...
Loading Comments...