Linking Caffeine and your Mood

Have you ever considered if caffeine might impact your mood?  If you look around, you can see we are living in a caffeine buzzed country. There is a packed coffee shop on every corner and endless soda refills at all restaurants. You also cannot forget the rows of caffeinated drinks at grocery and convenience stores with their fancy labels and enticing marketing.

Positive Effects of Caffeine

It is no surprise that people love caffeine due to the way it makes you feel.  Caffeine wakes you in the morning and gives an energy boost when needed. It also provides extra focus when you need to concentrate.

Nehlig (2016) shares a small amount of caffeine (50 to 200 mg) produces energy, focus, and a boost in positive mood. There is also evidence that drinking 2-3 cups of coffee a day, helps a person decrease their chances of depression (Nehlig, 2016). There are limits on the amount you should consume to maintain the positive effects. According to Nehlig, a healthy level of caffeine is 300-400 mg a day.

Caffeine and Sleep

Like every substance, there can be negative side effects.  One of the negative side effects is how it impacts sleep. Nehlig (2016) states some caffeine sensitive people experience sleep issues from only 100 mg.

There are also studies that show non-sensitive people can lose an hour of sleep or more from drinking a strong cup of coffee in the afternoon (“Evening afternoon coffee”, 2013).  This has the potential to be harmful since research shows that sleep problems can lead to depression and even suicide (Ettensohn, Soto, Bassi and Khurshid,2016).

Caffeine and Anxiety

Caffeine in high doses (480mg) can cause feelings of panic and anxiousness (Nehlig, 2016).  This is interesting since one large Starbucks Blonde Roast has 475 mg of caffeine. Another loaded drink is a 20 oz. Dunkin’ Donuts coffee with a turbo shot. This Dunkin’ drink shows it is loaded with 398 mg of caffeine.  Both of these drinks can cause anxiety and meet the daily healthy allowance of caffeine for a person.


This article is to bring awareness that caffeine is great in moderation but has the potential to be harmful. Generally, your morning cup of Joe will not cause harmful effects, but brand and type are things to consider. It is also important for a person to look at all sources of caffeine and reduce if needed.

Reducing intake is especially true for people who are struggling with anxiety, depression and sleep issues. It could be that reducing the amount of caffeine to a healthy level might be what helps increase their positive mood.

Check it Out Yourself

Are you interested in how much caffeine you consume? Check out this chart

Additional Information on Caffeine


Ettensohn, M., Soto, Y., Bassi, B. & Khurshid, A. (2016). Sleep problems and disorder in patients with depression. Psychiatric Annals, 46, 7, doi: 10.3928/00485713-20160502-01

Even afternoon coffee disrupts sleep, study finds. (2013). Nursing Retrieved from the ProQuest database.

Nehlig, A. (2016). Effects of coffee/caffeine on brain health and disease: What should I tell my patients? Pract Neurol, 16,89-95. doi: 10.1136/practneurol-2015-001162